Olympic Flame leaves Hackney behind - but Torch relay delights crowds in Homerton

The Olympic Flame finally made its way out of Hackney at about 6.30pm, after a triumphant run through the borough’s streets.

Cheering crowds brandishing bright blue inflatable sticks whooped and clapped as the flame was carefully passed from Torchbearer to Torchbearer in Homerton Road, and they waved as the Torch was carried off on the next leg of its journey through the capital.

Diana Hoffman, a carer of Lee Conservatory Road, said she was delighted when last week’s Hackney Gazette informed her that the Torch relay would run past the bottom of her street.

“It was brilliant!” she said, after waving the Torch off. “It’s a really lovely atmosphere. I thought I can’t miss this! But I was trying so hard to get it all on video that I couldn’t use the bang-sticks I was given!”

Little Nicola Constantinou, eight, was keen to be pictured with one of the Torchbearers before the Flame arrived and was thrilled when she got her wish.

“I wanted to know what the Torch looked like,” she said, “because I’ve never seen one before.”

Mum Helen, 40, of Mabley Street, said: “We’re really excited about the Olympics, and I think everyone’s looking forward to it. We haven’t got tickets, but we’ll definitely watch it all on TV.”

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Many of the spectators lining Homerton Road had come from a community festival on Mabley Green organised by Hackney Homes, the organisation that runs the council’s housing stock.

A massive, inflatable Olympic mascot, Wenlock, overlooked the green, which boasted a bouncy castle, Bollywood-style dancing exhibitions, face-painting, live music, craft stalls, and children’s sports events.