Soul II Soul wow Olympic torch relay crowds at St Pancras International
Nonchalant commuters walked through St Pancras International at 6:55am today (July 26) either unaware, or too tired to care, that the Olympic torch relay would be passing through in less than half an hour.
On the first floor, the excitement was palpable as crowds started to gather along the concourse and around a stage that was set up under the station’s iconic Olympic rings.
A male acrobat spun around in a hoop that resembled one of those rings as he practised for his forthcoming performance.
One member of the crowd - Kim Joynes, 45, of Mitcham, said: “We missed the torch in Mitcham, so we came here today to see it.”
With a bright sun illuminating the first floor, the Damon Brown Jazz band kicked off festivities. The mellow beat proved to be a good way to ease people into the early morning start.
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People tapped their feet or swayed in time to the music. The smooth feeling continued with the The Majorettes, an all-girl hula troupe performing to equally jazzy music.
Onlooker Jenny Morris, of St Albans, described the entertainment as “fantastic”.
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The tempo changed when BBC radio presenter Eddie Nestor took to the stage. Wearing a starch white salwar kameez, which he later told the Ham&High was a torch relay friendly outfit in case he was asked to carry the torch at the last minute, he infested the place with energy and lifted the crowds.
Shortly before the torch arrived, a group of acrobats from The Exhibitionists ran, flew and twirled across the floor space.
Suddenly cheers started erupting along the station confirming the torch had arrived.
Torch bearer Luke Corduner, a PE teacher, raced up the stairs holding the flame aloft. People murmured and gasped as he lit Danny McCubbin’s torch.
Mr McCubbin, a charity volunteer and fundraiser, briefly paraded the flame aloft before running out of the station.
Bystander Heather McGran, 35, of Cromer Street, Camden, said: “It was absolutely amazing, but all too quick.”
Sarah Burrows, of Robert Street, Camden, added: “It was fantastic. It makes me want to go to the Olympic opening ceremony!”
Afterwards, Greenwood Dance Group and took to stage to entertain the hyper crowd, before being followed by the grand finale Grammy award winning band Soul II Soul.
Shortly before going on stage, Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B, of Camden, said: “It’s really good to have this in my own backyard. We’ll be playing a few of our old songs all in the spirit of the Olympics.”
The band’s half hour set wowed the crowds. Tessa Charlton, 52, from Angel, said: “I really enjoyed it. They’re from my era!”
Eddie Nestor said: “They got the whole thing going. It was a lovely way to end it.”