Sunday, 27 May 2012

Olympic torch passes through Treorci

Yesterday, the Olympic torch travelled from Merthyr, over the Rhigos mountain and through Treherbert, Ynyswen and Treorci before leaving the valley to go over the Bwlch mountain to Bridgend.

The temperature was in the 30s, but that did not deter hundreds of people packing Treorci centre in the blazing heat  to see the convoy.

There were lots of false alarms before the real thing, because every so often a group of cars was escorted down the street by police. Finally, though, the real convoy appeared.

This police motorcyclist created lots of amusement and got many cheers for his "royal wave"

Of course, the biggest cheers were saved for the torch bearer.

I'm sure the convoy was happy with the warm welcome it received in the valleys.

Unsurprisingly, there were some negative aspects to the occasion too. The commercial aspect of the Olympic Games hit hard, with several large vehicles thundering by advertising some of the official sponsor companies.

What I didn't realise, and neither did a local shop, is that it is actually illegal for a non-sponsor business to make any reference to the Olympics, or even to athletics!

A leaflet from Trading Standards alludes to "an unlawful association" which can be produced merely through the use of  "athletic images".

The shop wanted to honour Welsh athletes, but was subjected to a visit from Trading Standards heavies:

A further irony was the way RCT council used the occasion to crow about its Leisure Activities Department. This same Labour-led council is busy closing as many services as possible in the upper Rhondda. Speaking of sports, not only did the council close Treherbert Swimming Pool in 2008, it has also put up numerous obstacles in the way of the Friends of Treherbert Pool. This community group has been trying to take over the pool and reopen for the last three years. I've heard recently, though, that the council plans to demolish the building. As a result, Treherbert people have a four mile journey to the nearest pool at Ystrad, and those further up the valley an even longer trip. In a community where many do not have access to a car and where public transport is expensive, that is no joke.