Olympic flame goes out during torch relay


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The Independent Online

The Devon town of Great Torrington has written its name in the pages of Olympic infamy as the place where the Olympic Flame went out on Day Three of the Torch Relay.

It was attached to the side of para-badminton star David Follett’s wheelchair when, shortly before 10am, the great light went out - a faulty propane cylinder being to blame.

It is in fact, a far from uncommon occurrence. Two back up flames, “an heir and a spare”, both with the same unbroken heritage from the summit of Mount Olympics, travel in Davy lamps in the 350 person convoy that accompanies the torch bearer, for use in just such an eventuality.

The specialist Metropolitan Police, who oversee the “kisses” in which the flame is passed from one to another were quickly on hand to relight Mr Follet’s torch.

A Locog spokesman said: "The flame went out due to a malfunctioning burner. It is not uncommon for a flame to go out and this can happen for a number of reasons, for example, in extreme winds. We keep the mother flame alight in specially designed miners' lanterns so if the flame does go out for some reason we re-light it from the source of the flame."

Meanwhile yet more unfortunate news has emerged for torchbearers has emerged. It seems that there prized memorabilia may in fact not have a street value of more than £150,000.

Sophia Cowburn, a 19 year old whose torch sold on ebay for £153,400 has admitted the winning bid turned out to be a hoax. She had stated she would give the profits to a charity, the Invictus Trust. Now she is in conversation with the next five highest placed bidders – all well in excess of £100,000 - to see if any are genuine.

A spokesperson for ebay said the company is now advising torch bearers to list their items with “preapproved bidding authentification”, meaning unless bidders are willing to hand over their contact details, their bid can be rejected. “We find it eradicates auction wreckers,” the spokesperson said.

None of the extortionate auction victories thus far have been listed with an official “ebay for charity” listing, which are marked with a special ribbon and on which the auction does not take a fee.