At least the Olympic flame burned brightly and strongly for the first two days. But on day three of the relay the flame went out as it was being carried through the Devon town of Great Torrington.
The torch was attached to the side of para-badminton star David Follett’s wheelchair when the flame went out shortly before 10am.
It was not a complete disaster: the torch was re-lit using a backup flame that is transported around with the torchbearers. A spokesperson for the London 2012 organising committee blamed a malfunction within the burner and said it was not uncommon for flames to be extinguished.
The spokesman said: “The flame went out due to a malfunctioning burner. It is not uncommon for a flame to go out and this can happen for a number of reasons, for example, in extreme winds. We keep the mother flame alight in specially designed miners’ lanterns so if the flame does go out for some reason we re-light it from the source of the flame.”
The committee was also facing questions after it emerged that a woman taking part in the relay may have made up to £150,000 by selling her torch on eBay.
Sarah Milner Simonds, from Somerset, says she will pass the money on to charity but has received abusive emails and could be in for a frosty reception when her turn to carry the flame comes on Monday afternoon.
She is one of a number of runners who are selling their torches, which they can buy for £199 on the internet auction site. By Monday morning one torch bearer from Cornwall, where the relay began on Saturday, had received a bid of almost £40,000 for a torch.