THOUSANDS of people lined the streets of North Tyneside to give the Olympic torch a warm welcome today.
Young and old flocked to the coast this afternoon as the flame made its way to its overnight stop at Newcastle.
An estimated 6,000 people gathered along The Links to get the first glimpse of the torch in the borough.
School pupils from as far afield as Forest Hall, Longbenton and Seaton Delaval joined local students in cheering the flame as it passed.
Jordan McCartney was one of the lucky torch bearers after being nominated by his mother for his work in the community and with youngsters at Blyth Lifeguard and Swimming Club.
The 17-year-old Whitley Bay High School pupil said: “I feel amazing I have never experienced anything like this before.
“I am a bit nervous but excited. The support and atmosphere is great.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my family and friends as I go along, it’s brilliant.”
Jordan, who took over the flame from Sage employee Michael Moore, was cheered on as he took the torch along the Links passed the Waves Leisure Centre.
Michael said: “I run along Whitley Bay seafront and I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
And members of the public were delighted that the weather held off and they were able to get close to the Torch.
Whitley Bay residents Isabel and David Pritchard watched as the torch approached Whitley Bay along The Links.
Isabel said: “It’s a once in a lifetime experience to be so close to it.
“I thought the police were wonderful, they were entertaining the crowds and giving the youngsters ‘high-5s’ before the torch arrived.
“It was a great atmosphere, everyone enjoyed it.
“We came prepared for the weather but it stopped raining.
“I’m really glad we came here.”
Thousands more people lined the streets of Cullercoats, Tynemouth, North Shields, Howdon and Wallsend.
Pupils from The King’s School cheered on the torchbearers from the village green, and hundreds more students from Churchill Community College gathered at Tynemouth Road to see it pass through Howdon, as did local shop workers.
Among those who watched it at Howdon were Richard Small and Ashley Lennox.
Richard said: “It was excellent. We’ll only ever see this the once.
“We always planned on coming down if the weather was good, and it was nice to see so many people down here.
“I didn’t expect it to come through Howdon, especially when you see it in places like Alnwick.”
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