Published Thursday, 15 July 2021
The Coventry Flame of Friendship Relay has now come to an end after being passed from school to school since 21 April, with a celebration taking place yesterday, 14 July.
The relay has linked 54 Coventry schools every day for the last 12 weeks and allowed over 20,000 young people to get involved in a project that promotes Olympic legacy, physical activity and wellbeing.
The ‘flame of friendship’ was passed from school to school using an original 1948 Olympic Torch. The 1948 Torch was also accompanied by a London 2012 Teamwork baton given to Coventry Ambassador volunteers during the London2012 Games.
The relay represented a number of key themes, including celebrating the Coventry friendship with Tokyo2020 volunteers, promoting the Olympic and Paralympic values, building friendship links between Coventry communities and schools, encouraging pupils to be more physically active and finally, to celebrate the volunteer legacy of Coventry Ambassador and Young Ambassador volunteers.
The celebration took place at Xcel Leisure Centre in Canley, with schools and pupils that took part in the relay in attendance. Sports activities were on offer with the help from The Westwood Academy’s Sports Leaders.
Coventry’s Lord Mayor Cllr John McNicholas, Cllr Kamran Caan, Cabinet Member Public Health and Sport, Counsellor Toshinori Sano from the Embassy of Japan and representatives from Sky Blues in the Community were also in attendance to celebrate with the children.
Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr John McNicholas, said: “Our 54 schools have done a marvellous job over recent weeks, carrying the 1948 Torch around our city. They have created links between schools and given us all something to smile about.
“As a City of Peace and Reconciliation, we bring people together all around the world, and by taking part in the relay the children have helped make that work.
“They have brought people together in our city and will have inspired others to do the same. Well done to all that are involved.”
Cllr Kamran Caan, Cabinet Member Public Health and Sport, added: “Congratulations on completing the Flame of Friendship Torch Relay. Everyone involved from the organisers to the school staff and children – they have all done a fantastic job.
“The Relay has been a brilliant success. It has brought our children and young people together in sport, and the friendship has helped us emerge from the problems of lockdown and isolation. Plus, having an original Olympic Torch with us has made it even more special.
“It has been a great way to tie together our upcoming major events in the city and builds the excitement for the International Children’s Games and Commonwealth Games in the city. Again, a huge well done to all.”
Schools made huge efforts to welcome the Torch and visiting schools, along with local organisations and charities joining in with legs of the relay including Sky Blues in the Community and support from local athletes.
The idea of the relay has been driven by local primary schools including Howes Primary School who are one of the lead Coventry Young Ambassador schools and EnV, who manage the Coventry Ambassador volunteer programme.
Organisers David Boughey, Managing Director, EnV and Rebecca Bollands, Deputy Head at Howes Primary School, said: “It has been fantastic to see Coventry schools participating in the Torch Relay. They have demonstrated the Olympic value of Friendship and have been able to start reconnecting after many months of being apart.
“We are delighted that the children have been able to learn about the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in such a positive initiative. We wanted the event to celebrate our own Olympic legacy of volunteering in Coventry over the past ten years through the Coventry Ambassador and more recently the Young Ambassador programme, while also showing support to our friends in Tokyo and organisers of the Tokyo2020 city volunteer programme who have used Coventry as a best practice model.
“We are really proud of all the schools and Young Ambassadors who have made this happen and look forward to the flame of friendship continuing to burn brightly amongst our communities.”
For more information on Coventry’s Ambassadors and their current work in the city, head to the EnV website.
View more photos from the day on the Coventry City Council Flickr page.