Olympic Torch takes a trip on the London Eye

 

The Olympic Torch reached new heights this morning as it was held aloft on the London Eye.

Amelia Hempleman-Adams, who became the youngest person to ski to the South Pole when aged just 16, grinned from ear to ear as she held the flame on top of a capsule on board the giant wheel.

Illuminated by early morning sunshine, the 17-year-old daughter of adventurer David Hempleman-Adams held on tight as she raised the torch above the sleepy capital shortly after 8am.

And she kept a tight grip as she posed with the flame at a height much greater than nearby Big Ben, surrounded by bright blue sky.

The young explorer, who carried out her record-breaking expedition with her father last December, described holding the torch above the capital as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

The stunt was suggested to the teenager, who told the BBC: “I decided to see what I'd have to do, thought about it and decided to do it.

“It was amazing to look out and see the whole of London.”

Amelia, who has tickets for the athletics and diving events, added: “The height was quite scary but you know you're safe so it's not too bad.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience, especially as the Olympics are in London. It makes it more special.”

The flame will later be carried by former world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis as it makes its way through the boroughs of Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Bexley on day 65 of the relay.

It began the day at Redbridge Cycling Centre, where the first torchbearer of the day, Luke Benjafield, 20, from South Woodford, carried the flame through a corridor of cyclists from local clubs.

He was nominated for the role due to his dedication to the Air Training Corps 241 Squadron, where he has inspired and motivated many cadets to succeed in their flight training.

The torch was then taken across Fairlop Lake in a boat accompanied by London Youth Games sailors.

Later, Britain's Got Talent-winning street dance troupe Diversity will carry the flame on to the stage at the Dagenham Town Show.

Havering will host the flame next, where Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang, 30, will take it on to a stage outside the Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch and Olympic rower Ben Hunt-Davies will also be a torchbearer.

Hunt-Davies, who competed in three Olympic Games and won a gold medal in Sydney in 2000, went on to volunteer at the Beijing Games and has been an ambassador for the London 2012 bid.

The torch will then become waterborne for the second time when it is transported across the River Thames in a London Fire Brigade fireboat accompanied by a flotilla of smaller craft.

Once in Bexley, it will be carried to Danson Park, where Lewis will light a cauldron as part of the evening celebrations and pop duo Rizzle Kicks and dance act Twist And Pulse will perform.

The flame came within a stone's throw of the Olympic Park yesterday when it was carried through Stratford after starting its London journey earlier in the day at the Greenwich Royal Observatory.

PA

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