The day the torch came to Petworth

Lord and Lady Egremont greet torchbearers Sara Tremlett and Martin Vogt
Lord and Lady Egremont greet torchbearers Sara Tremlett and Martin Vogt

More than 2000 school children, teachers, parents and friends flocked to Petworth Park to watch the Olympic flame on its way to London for the start of the 2012 Games.

As they were marshalled into their waving positions around Petworth House, friends and family of the torchbearers crowded in behind them.

Alistair Herbert had travelled with his wife Ursula and friends Dorothy Diplock and Tessa Richards from Billingshurst to watch 65-year- old Sara Tremlett from West Chiltington, one of Petworth’s two local torchbearers, carry the flame into the park.

“We are all friends from church,” said Mrs Herbert, “and we came to cheer Sara on. She was nominated for her work for the Riding for the Disabled club.”

As she ran into view a roar went up from the crowds and Sara ran to meet Martin Vogt, 42, from Munich who was waiting to take up the torch. They paused briefly to meet Lord and Lady Egremont, who had waited in the drizzle, on the steps of Petworth House.

The children then took part in a world record attempt for the largest gathering of people blowing grass trumpets.

The attempt organised by the National Trust was inspired by it’s ‘50 things to do before you are 11¾ campaign’ was filmed as Petworth Park erupted with the sounds of children blowing furiously on their blades of grass.

The video will be sent to the Guinness Book of Records for verification.

Meanwhile the flame was carried along East Street, New Street and through Market Square where crowds lined the pavements to greet the torchbearers.

Among them was Emma Johnston-Jones 35, from Billingshurst who, cheered on by her family and many friends in Petworth, was nominated for her work with the charities Bliss, Tamba, the Twins and Multiple Births Association and Action Medical Research.

She became involved with the charity work after losing her son Morgan just seven weeks after his birth when he contracted a respiratory infection. His twin siser Jasmin also caught the virus but battled through and survived.

She said: “Jasmin is my saviour and I am carrying the torch for my two amazing babies and all the parents who have lost a child and have found a way through the pain by helping others in some way.”