A ONCE in a lifetime experience: that’s what Jenna Speirs and Victoria O’Reilly from Bute enjoyed on Friday as they carried the Olympic flame at opposite ends of Ayrshire on the first day of the iconic torch’s journey through Scotland.
Jenna carried the torch into Girvan town centre just before eight o’clock, while Victoria took it through a three-hundred-metre stretch of Beith shortly before 2pm.
Both were cheered on their way by hundreds of flag-waving onlookers and by thrilled family and friends.
The torch arrived in Scotland by ferry from Northern Ireland on Thursday night - the first time the flame has been seen north of the border - and the relay set off from Stranraer at 6am the following morning.
Jenna, who reported for duty on the Girvan stretch of the relay at 5.25am, and set off with the torch at such a pace that her supporters (and The Buteman!) were left peching behind, told us afterwards: “I was more excited than nervous before the torch arrived - as soon as it was in my hand it hit me that I was the only person in the world holding the Olympic flame at that point, so I just went for it!
“When I arrived in the centre of the town the crowd just went mental. It was an unforgettable experience.”
After leaving Girvan the torch relay visited Turnberry, Maybole, Alloway, Ayr, Kilmarnock, Stewarton and Barrmill before arriving in Beith shortly after lunch, where Victoria’s family and friends were waiting for her moment in the spotlight.
Victoria and her fellow north Ayrshire runners were bussed from Kilmarnock for the relay, and returned there as soon as they had completed their stretch of the course - we hope to talk to her about the experience very soon.