OLYMPIC TORCH: 8.15am Luke Lancaster holds torch aloft at historic Battle Abbey

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TEENAGER Luke Lancaster held aloft the Olympic torch as the relay got under way from outside historic Battle Abbey on day 61 this morning.

Aged just 16, the Crowhurst-based teenager Luke is the founder and CEO of the registered UK charity Young Pioneers. Having almost been excluded from school as a result of bullying, Luke created the organisation to enable young people with the skills and confidence they need to be life-ready and to make a difference to their communities and society. Three years on the charity is going from strength to strength and Luke himself received the Children & Youg People’s Champion Award in 2010 from CYPN for the work he does with young people in the UK.

More than 500 people gathered outside Battle Abbey to see the torch lit as part of a ceremonial photo call. Crowds, many of them schoolchildren waving flags and home made Olympic flames, cheered as Luke stood next to the Mayor, Richard Bye, and the town crier.

The torch then took the funicular railway to East Cliff and was due to arrive at Rock-A-Nore Road shortly after 8.45am before continuing on its journey through the historic part of Hastings to arrive on the Rye Road by 9.18am.

The torch was then due to be transported to Rye for the next leg of its journey starting at 9.44am.