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Olympic flame makes its final journey along the Thames on royal rowbarge the Gloriana
The Olympic torch took its final tour through the capital this mornng as eager spectators lined the riverbanks from Hampton Court, up through Kingston, and beyond.
Having travelled 8,000 miles in 70 days around the UK it was a fitting end to a long journey when the iconic flame took to the Thames on the Queen’s royal jubilee barge, the Gloriana.
The historic significance of the event did not escape Kingston residents.
Neighbours living in houseboats near The Ram pub had a perfect viewing spot from which to witness the flame's passing when they gathered on boat owner Ray Hope’s boat for a champagne breakfast.
Mr Hope said: "There were so many people and as the boat came round the corner you felt the tension growing.
“To see the royal barge with a huge great flame at the front made us feel great – Britain really is Great Britain.”
Another person with a prime viewing spot was Surrey Comet reporter Clare Buchanan who boarded one of the proceeding vessels making it way up river ahead of the flame carrying barge as part of the flotilla.
Miss Buchanan spoke to fellow passenger on the barge Jo Wales, from Street Child Africa.
Ms Wales said: "It's the first time I will have seen the torch.
“It's very impressive with the cauldron and the flame."
The excitement of seeing the torch as it had its metamorphosis from a handheld flame to a blazing cauldron filling beacon was not lost on the public.
Crowds along the riverside leading up to Kingston Bridge were four deep in places and excitement levels were high before the flames arrival just as bells started to ring marking the first day of the 2012 Games.
Olympic volunteers Michael Levett and Helen Millier excitedly watched from Kingston Bridge as it was their main chance to be a public part of the games before officially starting work as Olympic gamemakers tomorrow and acting as stewards for the weekend’s cycling road races.
School caretaker Roger Stafford, 51, from Cobham, summed up the whole experience of seeing the Olympic flame travelling past Kingston on the Gloriana.
He said: "It [seeing the torch] has just got to be done. It is surely one of the things to do."
These were the scenes at Surbiton Sailing Club early Friday morning as the royal row barge the Gloriana passed between Raven's Ait and the Surbiton riverside on its way to The Olympic Park in Stratford.
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