The Olympic Torch in Starbeck - extra pictures

Chloe and Riley Hirst, 16 weeks, of Hambleton Road in Bilton
Chloe and Riley Hirst, 16 weeks, of Hambleton Road in Bilton

Crowds of thousands lined the streets on Harrogate on Tuesday to welcome the Olympic torch to the town.

Schoolchildren were released from lessons for the occasion, families took a day’s holiday and workers escaped the office for an hour to join the celebrations.

Ashley Knapton-Smith and his mum Carole, of Fairways Close

Ashley Knapton-Smith and his mum Carole, of Fairways Close

And impressive they were, with music playing, crowds cheering and bells tolling as the historic torch made its approach to Starbeck.

“This will be the only time in our lifetime this will be happening,” said Chris and Margaret York, of Greenfields Road.”It would be a shame not to be a part of the occasion.

“Plus it’s a lovely day. It’s fabulous, and I’m glad the weather’s held out. There’s a real gala feel.”

Audrey Maury of Forest Grove came with Yvonne Garside of Fewston Crescent, Indra Thompson of Harewood Road and her two children, Charlie, 10 and Demi, 4, along with Gita Thompson, Ben Wharton, 7, of Jennyfield.

Reggie, three and a half weeks, with his mum Rachel Reeves Hall and brother Zack, 10, of Bilton.

Reggie, three and a half weeks, with his mum Rachel Reeves Hall and brother Zack, 10, of Bilton.

“I want to be able to say to my grandson that I’ve seen it before him. It’s never going to happen again,” said Ms Maury.

“It’s so great that everybody’s pulled together, that’s what makes it a brilliant day,” added Yvonne. “We are very lucky with the weather. They’ve done a great job, the kids are really enjoying it.”

Harrogate High School students were released from lessons for the day, among them Jack Dobson, 18, of The Avenue, Sara Shaw, 16, of Chatsworth Place, Larry Vaskevicius, of Broadacres and Dimal Luzha, of Cawthorne Avenue.

For some of them, it was their last day at school as they finished their last exams.

Maksymilian Kotula, nine months, of Starbeck.

Maksymilian Kotula, nine months, of Starbeck.

“It’s quite a big occasion,” they said. “It will never again happen in our lifetime, not in the UK.

“It’s a little part of history and it’s nice to say we were there. It’s pretty cool that it’s come to our home town and it’s great that everybody is out.”

Kerry and Michael Wright, of Knightingdale Drive, brought their 11-week-old baby girl Poppy and daughter Esme, aged two-and-three-quarters.

“We might not ever see it again” they said. “Poppy wont know now what’s going on but she can say that she was there.

Chris and Margaret York, of Greenfields Road

Chris and Margaret York, of Greenfields Road

“I’m a teacher at Starbeck Primary School and they were all coming out so I thought I would come down too,” said Mrs Wright.

“It’s fantastic to watch, and to see so many people. We didn’t think so many people would be here but the turn out has been fantastic. Everybody’s so excited.”

Nine-month-old Maksymilian Kotula came with his mum Magda and dad Piotr, of Starbeck. “We are enjoying ourselves,” his parents said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s very well organised I think, It’s fantastic.”

Perhaps the youngest on the torch route was three-and-a-half week old Reggie (four-weeks-old today), who came with his mum Rachel Reeves-Hall and brother Zack, 10, of Bilton.

“There’s a lot of people, we think it’s great fun,” his mum said. “We were going to go anyway, to Empress Roundabout, but as we drove past we saw everything that was happening here and decided to stop. We’ve come to the fun part.”

Ashley Knapton-Smith came with his mum Carole, of Fairways Close. “It actually got to hold the torch, one of the runners let me hold it before it was lit,” he said.

Audrey Maury of Forest Grove, Yvonne Garside of Fewston Crescent, Indra Thompson of Harewood Road and her two children, Charlie, 10 and Demi, 4, Gita Thompson, Ben Wharton, 7, of Jennyfield.

Audrey Maury of Forest Grove, Yvonne Garside of Fewston Crescent, Indra Thompson of Harewood Road and her two children, Charlie, 10 and Demi, 4, Gita Thompson, Ben Wharton, 7, of Jennyfield.

“It was really good today, we only live about five minutes away. It’s very good to have it on your doorstep.”

Jack Dobson, 18, of The Avenue, Starbeck, Sara Shaw, 16, of Chatsworth Place, Larry Vaskevicius, of Broadacres, Dimal Luzha, of Cawthorne Avenue.

Jack Dobson, 18, of The Avenue, Starbeck, Sara Shaw, 16, of Chatsworth Place, Larry Vaskevicius, of Broadacres, Dimal Luzha, of Cawthorne Avenue.

Maksymilian Kotula, nine months, with his mum Magda and dad Piotr, of Starbeck.

Maksymilian Kotula, nine months, with his mum Magda and dad Piotr, of Starbeck.