Olympic journey for Guild scrolls

It might not look as dramatic ... and it certainly won't provoke the same controversy.

But Preston's own "Olympic Torch" is to go on an international journey to mark the city's 2012 Guild celebrations.

Town Hall chiefs have agreed the city's Scrolls of Friendship will again be sent around the world for Prestonian ex-pats to sign and write messages in for their loved ones back home.

At the last Guild in 1992, the Scrolls went across Europe and as far afield as South Africa, Australia, Wanganui in New Zealand and to Preston in the USA before being returned to Preston in time for the final Guild proclamation.

The Scrolls will embark on their epic journey at the start of 2012 once the exact route and means of transportation have been ironed out.

They will arrive back in Preston to mark the end of Guild week which begins on September 1, 2012.

And, in honour of the Guild tying in with the London Olympics, city chiefs are hoping Britain's Olympic heroes will carry the Scrolls on the final leg of their journey back to the Town Hall.

Council leader Ken Hudson said: "Because it is 2012, it is our aspiration to have more than one athlete.

"The Olympics will have finished and we will know who has won the gold medals by then. We are hoping to get more than one and some excellent local athletes."

For their journey, the scrolls are placed in a replica of the clock tower of the old Town Hall carved out of wooden beams salvaged from the building when it was destroyed by fire in 1947.

Preston Harriers and Athletic Club have also said they will be involved in the tradition.

In 1972 and 1992 their team carried the scrolls in relay from Manchester to Preston where, to huge cheers from a 1,700-strong crowd, it was handed over to the Guild Mayor on the steps of the Harris Museum.

The scrolls will be on display at the Town Hall once they have been returned to Preston.

In 1992, 63 scrolls from 16 countries were signed by more than 1,200 ex-Prestonians.

Michael Jackson's Guild Hall sell out

>> Vote in our latest web poll