Arundel’s hidden gems on show for new Olympic festival

Members of the Arundel Steering Group with their Olympic Torch festival plans.
Members of the Arundel Steering Group with their Olympic Torch festival plans.

ARUNDEL Castle is readying itself for an Olympic bonanza which will, hopefully, be remembered for decades to come.

To coincide with the historic passing of the Olympic Torch through Arundel, the castle will become the stunning backdrop to a special, one-off festival that will spill out into the town’s streets.

To mark the occasion, hundreds of school children, artists, musicians and community groups, from across the district, will take part in the three-hour Olympic festival, as the torch makes its way through the town and into the castle, on Monday, July 16.

Pupils from Arundel’s two primary schools will be among those taking part in a performance of the specially-composed song by Colin Martin, Aspire to Inspire – a melody designed to encourage youngsters to get into the spirit of this summer’s London games.

Arundel’s mayor, Wendy Eve, welcomed the arrival of the torch relay to the historic town in two months’ time.

“This will be an opportunity to show to the nation the reasons why this small market town has been attracting visitors since the mid-19th century.

“With a rich historic heritage and more recent contemporary culture, combined with leisure pursuits limited only by one’s imagination, it is not a surprise that Arundel is one of the most popular places to visit in the UK.

“We look forward to providing residents and visitors alike a party that they will not easily forget in celebration of the 2012 Olympic Torch relay,” she said. 

Other highlights of the festival include the expected arrival of Littlehampton’s Blue Peter lifeboat, which will it is hoped, be moored at Arundel’s new pontoons on the River Arun.

The sculpture, Flame of the Spirit and other Olympic artwork created by internationally renowned sculptor Ginger Gilmour, who is based in Littlehampton, will also be showcased during the event.

A community partnership, known as the Arundel Steering Group, has been working hard to bring together ideas and events for the day and is looking at ways to dress the town centre for the occasion.

The group includes representatives of Arun District Council, Arundel Town Council the Arundel Chamber of Commerce, Arundel Festival Committee, as well members of Arundel’s Rotary and Lions’ clubs.

Arun cabinet member for economic and cultural development, councillor Norman Dingemans, who is also responsible for tourism, said: “The Olympic Torch relay is a wonderful opportunity to showcase to the rest of the UK and internationally the many treasures we have in the district, including this beautiful and culturally-rich town of Arundel.”

Updates and full details of the event as well as alternative temporary parking, and smaller local events will be published on the council’s torch relay web pages at