DERBYSHIRE towns and villages will be thrust into the international spotlight when the Olympic Flame stops off in the county.
The region is set to play host to the iconic torch as it journeys across the UK in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics in a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.
The flame will stop off at Glapwell, Bolsover, Calow, Chesterfield, Matlock, Darley Dale and Bakewell on Friday, June 29.
Residents are being invited to line the route and join the celebration as the nation counts down to the start of next summer’s Games.
Derbyshire County Council leader Andrew Lewer said: “This is really exciting news – the spotlight will be firmly on Derbyshire in the build up to the Olympics.”
Cllr John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, which plans to host an event in Queen’s Park after the torch has travelled through the town, said: “To see the Olympic Flame in Chesterfield will be a very special moment in our town’s history.
“This really will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for many thousands of people.”
Chesterfield’s Mayor Cllr Peter Barr added: “Even though many people may not have the chance to go to London to experience the Games, this gives us an opportunity to play an important part in the London 2012 Olympics.”
NE Derbyshire District Council has joined forces with Calow CE Primary School to plan a day of celebration in the village.
Martin Thacker, headteacher of Calow CE Primary School, said: “It’s great news that the torch will be at the heart of our community, giving local people a rare chance to get involved in the excitement and spirit of the Games.”
Bolsover District Council’s cabinet member for social inclusion Cllr Ann Syrett said the event will be “an amazing spectacle”.
“We want as many of our communities to come along and be a part of the Olympics – something they may never get the chance to experience again,” she added.
Olympics organisers have announced that the flame will stop off at the Heights of Abraham in Matlock Bath where it will be transported to the summit in a cable car.
Children were joined by local sports star, Emma Erskine, and community leaders at the foot of the attraction for the special announcement on Monday.
Kickboxing star Emma Erskine, a pupil at Highfields School in Matlock, held a replica of the torch during the celebration.
The 16-year-old, along with her PE teacher, Jayne Allen, have been nominated to carry the real torch when it reaches the Derbyshire Dales.