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Olympic torch takes wrong turning

After less than a week on British soil, the Olympic torch relay continues to pursue a very British series of mishaps. It was only a couple of days into the relay when it first went out and had to be relit. Then it took the wrong route in Bristol resulting in a half hour delay as the relay headed for Wiltshire.

The torch was being carried in a vehicle at the time. "They missed a turning this morning between Nailsea and Failand," a spokesperson explained. "They realised straight away and rectified it. They were running 10 minutes late. It did not impact on any of the torchbearers."

The flame went out on the third day, when it was being carried on Paralympian David Follett’s wheelchair through Great Torrington in Devon. "I got it, went a few metres and then it went out," Follett said, "I thought: 'It would be me – it's always the way'." Happily, the "mother flame" follows the relay so the torch can be relit.

There have been impressive public turnouts to see the torch relay, perhaps because, for many Britons, it will the only chance they have of seeing any live Olympic action given the difficulty and expense of obtaining tickets.

Among the torchbearers were some celebrities. The 67 year-old David Hemery, a gold medal winner at the 1968 Olympics, carried it through the town of Wootton Bassett. A more recent sporting hero, Didier Drogba, carried the flame in Swindon and the Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips, carried the flame on horseback on Cheltenham racecourse.

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