Durham Cricketer Carries Olympic Torch

17 June 2012, 09:53 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Durham cricketer Paul Collingwood was today's first Torchbearer as he carried the Olympic Torch from the city's Market Place.

The Ashes-winning cricketer brandished the Olympic Torch like it was a cricket bat as he started Day 30 of its tour around the UK.

He turned the flame upside down for the cheering crowds in front of Durham Cathedral.

Collingwood, who was born in Shotley Bridge, said he was thrilled to be asked to be a Torchbearer.

Despite a broken bone in his right hand he was still able to carry the Torch and had a huge smile on his face.

Before setting off he said:
"I'm like a kid at Christmas.

It's not ideal timing to break a bone in my right hand as I was going to carry it in that hand.

It's going to be a great day, everyone has smiles on their faces - I certainly have a smile on mine. I feel really privileged.

It's great to have my hands on the Olympic Torch. It's great to show off Durham and it's fantastic to have the choir playing, the cathedral and to walk through the Market Place. It really is a dream.''

Collingwood took the torch through Durham's historic streets to the Market Square.

The relay will then head east to the coast, south to Hartlepool then back west to Bishop Auckland, and on to Darlington. The day will end in Middlesbrough with an Evening Celebration in the Centre Square.