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Birmingham parties after welcoming Olympic flame

PARTY: Soweto Kinch

ALMOST THREE quarters of a million people were able to watch the symbolic Olympic flame as it ignited excitement and smiles across the West Midlands during the two days it spent in the region.

There were plenty of unforgettable moments for those lucky enough to have been chosen to carry the famous flame.

It arrived on Saturday June 30 for an overnight stay in Birmingham where the city hosted a spectacular Coca Cola Evening Celebration in Cannon Hill Park.

Artists such as singer-songwriter Loick Essien, chart-topping boy band The Wanted, Birmingham’s own jazz and hip-hop supremo Soweto Kinch, and local street dance crew antics entertained the 20,000 strong crowd.

Kinch got the Special City Celebration concert off on the right note by playing a blazing saxophone number with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Hours later the Peter Pan of pop Sir Cliff Richard had handed the torch to Kiran Sahota, the last Olympic torchbearer of the day who ran up on stage to light the cauldron where the flame remained for the night.

Earlier in the day, Victoria Cross hero Johnson Beharry carried the torch into the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire. Grenada-born Corporal Beharry of the 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, was awarded the Victoria Cross for twice saving members of his unit from ambushes in Al-Amarah, Iraq in 2004.

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