Thousands farewell Olympic Torch from the northwest

The Olympic torch has left the North West after huge crowds turned out to cheer the flame over the course of its two visits to the region.

During its 484-mile route through the region, hundreds of thousands of spectators have been out in all weathers to cheer on the torch bearers.

The relay first passed through the North West between 31 May and 1 June, taking in Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside before taking its first UK flight to the Isle of Man.

It then returned to the North West on Thursday 21 June, taking in Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester again, over the course of four days.

During this leg the relay experienced some of its biggest challenges yet as torrential rain and storm-strength winds battered the Lancashire coast as the torch approached Blackpool.

However, the multi-agency operation ensured that the evening event was subsequently moved inside and no-one missed out on the opportunity to take part in the once-in-a-lifetime event.

Coordinated regionally by Greater Manchester Police, the safety and security operation has been 18-months in the planning.

North West police forces have worked tirelessly alongside the relay organisers - local authorities and LOCOG - to ensure the event has been a resounding success.

Gold Commander, Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "First of all, I want to thank everyone who took part in this wonderful event, from the torch bearers and the fantastic crowds who came out in unprecedented numbers, to the thousands of people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.

“The 18 months of meticulous planning and preparation has ensured that the torch remained completely unscathed despite some fairly extreme, yet typically regional, weather!

“It is a testament to everyone involved that not even high winds, torrential rain and flooding could prevent everyone who wanted to see the torch from doing so.

“Police forces, local authorities and blue light partners have worked seamlessly, hand in hand to make everything run smoothly over the course of the six days it had graced the North West. It has been a great team effort by everyone and I am proud to have overseen the safety and security operation.

"However, the event would have been nothing without the overwhelming support from the public. Their unending enthusiasm for the relay has been truly inspiring, and reflected in the overwhelmingly positive response we have had from the public.

“Our officers have been delighted by all the many thank you messages appearing on social networking sites and at street level and it is this kind of public support that has made the event so worthwhile and memorable.”

© Greater Manchester Police 2018