For four days in July, Kent will play host to the Olympic flame as it lights up 37 towns and villages in the county as part of its historic 70-day, 8000 mile Torch Relay. There will also be two evening celebration stops in Dover and Maidstone.
The flame is a hugely symbolic part of the Olympics and a very precise ritual is followed at every Games. It is lit from the sun’s rays during a traditional ceremony at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, among the ruins of the home of the Ancient Games. After a short relay around Greece, the flame is handed over to the new host city at another ceremony in the Panathenaiko stadium in Athens, from where it is delivered to the host country and transferred from one torch bearer to another, spreading the message of peace, unity and friendship. It ends its journey as the last torchbearer lights the Cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, marking the official start of the Games.
The flame first appeared in the modern Olympics at the 1928 Games in Amsterdam and the first torch relay took place for the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. You can be part of this historic moment at the following places:
• Tunbridge Wells (July 17)
• Hamstreet, Ashford, Hythe, Sandgate, Folkestone, Dover (July 18)
• Deal, Sholden, Sandwich, Great Stonar, Cliffsend, St Lawrence, Ramsgate, Broadstairs, St Peters, Cliftonville, Margate, Westgate-on-Sea, Birchington, Upstreet, Sturry, Canterbury, Thanington, Faversham, Challock, Harrietsham, Maidstone (July 19)
• Maidstone, Chatham, Gillingham, Rochester, Higham Gravesend, Borough Green; Seal; Sevenoaks (July 20).