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David Beckham in Cornwall
The Olympic Flame has begun its 70-day tour of the UK on Saturday. Three-times Olympic gold medal winning sailor Ben Ainslie was the first of 8,000 torchbearers when he started the relay at Land's End shortly after 7am.
The Olympic Flame was flown to the UK's most westerly point by a 771 Naval Air Squadron Sea King helicopter.
Lieutenant Commander Richard Full carried a lantern to the world-famous First and Last signpost at Land's End, where the first torch was lit. Ainslie, who grew up in the nearby harbour town of Falmouth, carried the torch 300 metres before passing it on to 18-year-old Anastassia Swallow. The teenager, from St Ives in Cornwall, has represented Great Britain four times internationally as a member of the junior British surf team.
``When I first heard I had been chosen to be a Torchbearer I was so stoked,'' the teenager, who is known as Tassy, said. ``I couldn't believe I had been nominated by the local people, my friends and my family, all the people who I most care about. It is an honour to represent my town and my country, as well as my sport, and to carry the Olympic Flame''
One of seven children, Tassy has travelled widely, spending time in six different continents so far. She is the youngest sports ambassador for Cornwall. The other torchbearers at the UK's most westerly point will be Eric Smith, 76, Victoria Smith, 16, and Stephen Brady, 59.
After leaving Land's End, the torch passed by many communities across Cornwall, including Sennen, Penzance, the picturesque St Michael's Mount, the world famous Eden Project, Falmouth and Truro.
The Olympic Flame crossed the Tamar Bridge into Devon before finishing the first day in Plymouth with an evening celebration.
The torch visits the four nations of the UK before being carried into the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on July 27 for the opening ceremony of the Games. It will travel 8,000 miles through 1,019 cities, towns and villages, on foot or in convoy, and drop in at UK landmarks like the Giant's Causeway and Stonehenge. It will be carried by bearers, or taken in a convoy, and will also be transported by boat, bicycle, tram and train.
The flame, meant to represent purity, was kindled from the rays of the sun using a parabolic mirror in a ceremony on May 10 at Olympia, the home of the ancient Olympic Games. It was taken on a 1,800-mile relay around Greece before being handed over to the Princess Royal during a rain-soaked ceremony on Thursday night at the Panathenaic Stadium, venue of the first modern Olympics in 1896. The flame was handed over to London to host the Games for the third time since the birth of the Olympics - in 1908, 1948 and now 2012. No other city has staged the Games three times.
The British Airways BA2012 flight arrived on time at RNAS Culdrose, near Helston. There were loud cheers from the crowd as the delegation, including footballer David Beckham, the Princess Royal, Lord Coe, chairman of Games organisers Locog, and London Mayor Boris Johnson, stepped off the flight from Athens. Princess Anne carried the lantern containing the flame from the aircraft before Beckham used the torch to light a cauldron at the air-sea rescue base. The Olympic Flame remained overnight at the base under guard before being flown to Land's End.
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