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Somerton woman recalls last Olympic Torch visit in 1948

By Western Gazette - South Somerset  |  Posted: May 24, 2012

Lifelong Somerton resident Phyllis Hunt was delighted to see the Olympic flame again after 64 years, pictured with her daughter Shani Thomas and son-in-law Mark Thomas

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A Somerton resident was delighted to see the Olympic torch pass through her home town on Tuesday as it brought back memories of the last time she saw it.

Phyllis Hunt, 79, said it was wonderful to see the flame again, 64 years after she saw it pass through Chard ahead of the 1948 Olympics.

Mrs Hunt staked out a spot on the corner of Broad Street with her daughter Shani Thomas, 52, and son-in-law Mark.

Back in 1948, the torch was greeted by a crowd of 3,000 people, headed by the Mayor and the town band – despite the fact it arrived in Chard at 3.30am.

Mrs Hunt was just 16 when she saw the momentous occasion with her father and has never forgotten it.

She said: “It was dark when we got there but there was a hell of an atmosphere. It was very spectacular because it was dark so you could see the flame glowing. There were crowds and crowds of people.

“I now feel so proud to see the torch in my home town, this time with my daughter and her husband. It makes me proud to be British.”

Somerton residents Ann and Gerald Wallbridge were also in the crowds along Behind Berry.

Ann said: “We were more than excited to see the torch and I am particularly interested in the Olympics because my long-lost cousin is coming over from America to cover the London games as a reporter.

“I traced my father to America 12 years ago so it is lovely to have my cousin visit.”

Town councillor Judith Hurley said if there had been a competition for best dressed town on the Olympic tour, Somerton would have won.

She said: “Somerton was well prepared. The whole town has pulled together and made a great effort.”

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