Olympic torch relay cost borough £17k

Norman Brown carries the Olympic Torch up Wallgate
Norman Brown carries the Olympic Torch up Wallgate

THERE were worries that it might prove a damp squib, that no-one would turn up - in the event a tidal wave of support swept the Olympic torch through Wigan borough.

And this week, the cost to each local authority in hosting the famous sporting emblem was made public for the first time.

May 31, 2012 is a day that many will never forget as tens of thousands of Wigan folk lined the street to catch a glimpse of the torch as it wended its way across the country on a relay featuring more than 8,000 runners.

And the party thrown and the arrangements made to marshal the event cost Wigan Council £17,093.

A Freedom of Information Act request to every local authority in England revealed that this was quite a modest sum compared with some other parts of the country.

Blackpool, for instance, spent more than £43,000 (and horrendous weather ruined some of their festivities), Camden in London splashed out £123,000; and of those councils which responded to the requests for details, Waltham Forest, also in London, topped the table with a massive £279,000.

At the other end of the scale Trafford managed to spend just £1,500. Most authorites, other than those covering whole counties, ran up a bill of between £15,000 and £50,000.

Wigan Council helpfully gives a breakdown of its torch relay spending.

Staffing costs associated with the planning and organisation of the event came to £8,750;

Transport-related costs (transporting school children to the event) were £2,220;

Stencils for the torch route cost £1,768;

Entertainment for the torch day accounted for £2,000;

Security costs were £1,680;

Provision of flags, bunting etc tallied £5,175.

That comes to a grand total of £21,593, but then Wigan Council managed to secure £4,500 in external sponsorship which can be deducted from the sum.

Coun David Molyneux, deputy leader of Wigan Council, said: “When you think of all the activities that took place across the borough and the huge number of people who got involved on the day I think this was money very well spent, especially as it brought such a big boost to the borough as a whole and the town centre in particular.

“When people talk about the Olympics in years to come they will remember fondly the day that the Olympic torch came to Wigan too.”