Emin: Torch role a 'surreal dream'
Artist Tracey Emin could not hide her delight as she carried the Olympic flame through her home town and said she had been overwhelmed by one of the more surreal experiences of her life.
The London-based artist, who was chosen to carry the flame in Margate, Kent, for her support in helping British talent, smiled and waved at the cheering crowds as she stood on the steps of the Turner Contemporary which is housing her own exhibition She Lay Down Beneath The Sea.
She said: "It's quite overwhelming and it's a long way, I haven't run since about 1978.
"I come from Margate and to see everyone so enthusiastic who has come down to the town is amazing."
Emin said she did not have to think twice when she was asked to carry the Olympic flame in her home town and she even cancelled her holiday so she was able to take part.
She said: "It's like the most surreal dream you can ever imagine.
"Who would have thought I would be carrying the Olympic torch through Margate to my own art gallery which wasn't even here a year-and-a-half ago."
Emin, 48, said she was as much a fan of the Olympics as everyone else but that she was really looking forward to the Paralympics, which she said would be the "best one ever" as "Britain is really brilliant at partying".
Asked what she was going to do with her Olympic torch, she said: "I will probably keep it and then when I die I will give it to one of my godchildren."
Emin, who graduated in fine arts from Maidstone College of Art in 1986 and is a recognised leading figure of the Young British Artists in the 1990s, handed the flame to British Olympic swimmer Karen Pickering who said the atmosphere in the town was "absolutely amazing".
The flame, which left Deal this morning, will have passed through the hands of 136 torchbearers and travelled 65 miles when it reaches Maidstone this evening.
Earlier today, athlete Steven Backley, 43, carried the flame in Ramsgate.
He retired from athletics after the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and has since been involved in a number of different projects, including coaching and mentoring up-and-coming athletes.
Kiss FM breakfast show presenter Charlie Hedges, 25, who is an ambassador for the Prince's Trust, will carry the flame in Challock, near Canterbury, while Melwyn Moore, 67, from Maidstone, has been made a torchbearer in recognition of the 21 London Marathons he has run over the past 21 years, raising money for the local community.
The flame will also be carried through the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral before it travels to Leeds Castle in Maidstone where foster carer Julia Chilcott will be the final torchbearer of the day.
Arts & Ents blogs
Fancy seeing a play about serial killers? How about inviting a funeral director into your home for a...
There are a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refl...
The opening titles squeal ‘Never Can Say Goodbye…’. Oh Lord how I wish I could heave this series off...
Coronation Street triumphs over EastEnders at British Soap Awards 2013
The Hangover III star Heather Graham: I'll miss playing a sexy stripper because my real life is pretty boring
Hollywood practices random acts of red-carpet kindness
Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
Cannes Film Festival 2013: And why exactly are vous here?
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.