London welcomes the Olympic Torch

The Olympic flame arrived into the grounds of the Tower of London on Friday.
The Olympic torch relay reaches east London Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Thousands of people greeted the Olympic torch when it arrived in London, the Games' host city.

After being cheered by crowds all over Britain, the flame started its first complete day in London at the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, in the south east of the capital.

Olympic Torchbearer Sarah Howard passes the flame to Sir Robin Knox-Johnson Credit: Press Association.

A party atmosphere spread through the streets of the borough as bands played for the crowds.

The torch started its London journey at the meridian, at Greenwich Royal Observatory, across the river Thames from Canary Wharf and overlooking the site of the Olympics' equestrian events.

Natasha Sinha holding the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg in front of the Olympic Equestrian Arena next to the Greenwich Naval Collage.
Natasha Sinha holding the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg in front of the Olympic Equestrian Arena next to the Greenwich Naval Collage. Credit: PA

Natasha Sinha, 15, from Greenwich, who was nominated to carry the torch for her dedication to swimming and cross-country running, took the flame down into the equestrian arena.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world, ran the torch around the clipper to the delight of the crowds.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnson.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnson. Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Pte van Gass, who lives in Woolwich, lost his left arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack while serving with the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan in 2009.

He also suffered a collapsed lung, punctured internal organs, loss of muscle from the upper left thigh, multiple shrapnel wounds and fractures to his knee, fibula and tibia.

Pte van Gass last year successfully trekked to the North Pole for the Walking With The Wounded charity, and was part of an attempt to climb Mount Everest this year, which was aborted because of dangerous conditions.

Jaco-Albert Van Gass carrying the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg through Greenwich.
Jaco-Albert Van Gass carrying the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg through Greenwich. Credit: PA

It was then taken around the streets of host boroughs Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest, stopping off at Stepney Green Park, Hackney Town Hall and Leyton Cricket Ground.

101-year-old marathon runner Fauja Singh.
101-year-old marathon runner Fauja Singh. Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Fauja Singh, a 101-year-old marathon runner from Ilford, east London, is one of Newham's torchbearers. This comes after he completed the London Marathon in seven hours 49 minutes in April.

Popstar Palamo Faith on the Olympic relay in Newham Credit: Paloma Faith

Pop singer Paloma Faith carried the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg through Newham. She jogged her part of the relay in gravity defying red heels. The relay continues throughout London today.