Olympic Torch is big attraction at Hampstead school assembly

Girls at a Hampstead school were delighted when the Olympic torch came to their school on Friday.

The pupils at St Margaret’s in Kidderpore Gardens were treated to the visit after a parent applied to have the torch from Lloyds TSB, a national presenting partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

Head teacher Mark Webster gave a presentation about the history of the torch and its purpose during an assembly.

He also played a video of boxing legend Muhammad Ali holding the torch aloft at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics before setting the cauldron ablaze, to illustrate its significance.

After he finished speaking he took the torch out of its container and held it up.

This was met with whoops of excitement from the girls, who all strained to get a glance of the torch.

Mr Webster told them that the three sides represent the Olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship, and added: “I can’t think of any better values I would like you to share.”

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He also told the girls that the Olympics is about “bringing people together”.

The girls then crowded around the torch to get a proper look.

Year 10 pupil Lizzy Yates, 15, said: “I think it’s really cool. I was really overwhelmed by this experience. I’m going to the Paralympics. I’m really excited. I’m going to see horse riding and swimming.”

Year Seven pupil Tamsin Gill, 11, said: “I think it’s amazing that it’s come to our school. I love sports. It will be good to watch the Games even though I don’t have any tickets.”

Nine-year-old Aiyana Osbourne added: “It is awesome. I’m ecstatic. My family has tickets for the Games. I think I’m going to the 100m sprint.”

Mr Webster said: “Our girls are very privileged to have held this graceful icon in their hands today, its three sides symbolising a set of values which every school should aspire to foster in its pupils.

“It will be very special for our girls when they see it light the cauldron on July 27.”

The school will be undertaking a trip to the Paralympics later in the year. It has also received some tickets for the Olympics.

The torch, which was specifically made for the 2012 Olympics by design studio Barber Osgerby, has 8,000 holes. They represent each of the torchbearers who will carry it for 70 days before the start of the Games.

They will carry it on the tour from John O’Groats to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.

It will then return to London for the opening ceremony on July 27.