Coventry Torch Relay – lighting a Flame of Friendship

Published Thursday, 22 April 2021

Coventry’s Flame of Friendship has started to make its journey around the city.

*Pictured left to right: Lord Mayor, with representatives of the Ambassadors and Young Ambassadors and Mandip Sehmi, a GB Paralympian 
*Pictured left to right: Lord Mayor, with representatives of the Ambassadors and Young Ambassadors and Mandip Sehmi, a GB Paralympian 

Beginning from Southfields Primary School the relay will link 54 Coventry schools. It started yesterday and will finish on 14 July with over 20,000 young people having the opportunity to experience it. 

Key themes of the relay include: 

  • celebrate the Coventry friendship with Tokyo volunteers 
  • promote the Olympic and Paralympic values, especially that of friendship
  • build friendship links between Coventry communities and schools
  • encourage pupils to be more physically active
  • celebrate the volunteer legacy of Coventry Ambassador and Young Ambassador volunteers.

Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr Ann Lucas, said: “The Relay is just a brilliant idea. Starting at Southfields, our city’s children and young people will carry this original torch from the 1948 London Olympics to 54 primary, secondary and special schools.  

“It’s not only getting us excited for the Tokyo Games later this year, it is bringing back some lovely memories of 2012 when we hosted Olympic football and the torch was carried through our streets.

“Thank you to the Relay organisers, to our schools, and to all our children and young people.”

The event had been all prepared to take place in March 2020 but had to be postponed shortly before due to the first national COVID lockdown, but that has not extinguished the desire from all involved to keep the flame flickering for a return this year to help re-connect communities.

The idea of the Relay has been driven by local primary schools including Howes Primary School which is one of the lead Coventry Young Ambassador schools and EnV who manage the Coventry Ambassador volunteer programme. This partnership has seen over 400 primary school children trained to become Coventry Young Ambassadors leading to thousands of voluntary hours in and out of school.

This event highlights Coventry’s continuing link with Tokyo 2020 whose volunteers have been trained by EnV.  The event will also link schools and their communities as well as highlight Olympic values such as friendship.  

The ‘flame of friendship’ will be passed from school to school using an original 1948 Olympic Torch. The 1948 Torch will be accompanied by a London 2012 Teamwork baton given to Coventry Ambassador volunteers when they welcomed the world to Coventry during the London2012 Games.

Coventry Paralympian Kare Adenegan who is due to be competing in Tokyo said: “I am pleased to see the spirit of the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be burning bright in Coventry schools and communities with this torch relay, it is great that so many young people and volunteers will share this experience promoting friendship and physical activity.

“Since hosting the Games in Coventry in 2012 the Coventry Ambassador volunteers have had a lasting impression in the city. Volunteers have been important through my sporting career helping to ensure competing athletes like myself are well supported and that everything runs smoothly.”

Coventry City Council