Roses 2012 torch relay is confirmed

Students from the University of York will carry a student-designed torch from York to Lancaster for this year’s annual Roses competition to mark London 2012.

A ‘Your Roses 2012, Your Torch’ competition was held and students were asked to submit their ideas and explanations for the torch design, with the winning design being created and carried between the two universities on May 4.

The 11 entries were voted on by other students, with over 300 votes cast, to create a short-list of the top five designs.

Alison Wise's winning design ©Alison Wise

Designs included red and white roses to represent the colours of the two universities, a magic unicorn to “sum up the rivalry between York and Lancaster” and “bring a smile to everyone’s face”, and Olympic rings made out of roses.

After thinking about trying to collate the designs, the Roses Committee named design four by Alison Wise as the winner and her torch will be created by local engineering company Iain Scott Fabrications, who were regularly consulted when choosing the final design.

Explaining her design, Wise wrote that it "encompasses my ideas on the Roses tournament, the Yorkshire/Lancashire rivalry and sporting competition, whilst paying homage to the Olympic torch tradition" and uses "the rose motif to the top of the torch, playing on the idea of the petals of the rose as flames".

She added that: "Whilst the rest of the torch will be a matt silver metal, the logo will stand out, promoting the red/white distinction that is at the very heart of Roses."

Wise told The Yorker: “It's great to win. It really was a last minute decision to send in a design! I liked the idea of Roses having a torch in the Olympic year and wanted to get involved.

“I tried to keep the design really simple, using the logo from the 2011 roses and continuing the rose theme throughout the design. I know the unicorn torch entry had a lot of support, and part of me would have loved to have seen it mounted on a bike and cycled across the country!

“Sadly I won't be taking part in Roses as my sporting ability doesn't stretch beyond college sport! I'll be following the results though, and hopefully the atmosphere will be as fantastic as it was last year.”

Chris Unsworth, Development officer on the York Sport committee, added: “I was so impressed by some of the designs and how well people responded to the messages of the competition. The designs included everything from having an Olympic focus bringing together themes seen in the ‘Be a Champion’ initiative and others that were centred heavily around Roses itself.

“The final design is very clearly centred upon Roses and represents the tournament perfectly. The considerations made when putting together the design such as making it ergonomic and adapting the flame on the torch into a rose made it a stand out choice, a design that I'm personally very proud of.”

Unsworth is also the ‘Be a Champion’ ambassador for the University of York and is responsible for creating Olympics-inspired events, such as this torch project, in the lead up to the Games this summer.

His role has seen him organise every stage of the nominations process, planning how the project would work throughout and gaining funds for the project, as well as planning for a York Sport mural which will be built at the new sports village to commemorate the Olympics.

Unsworth said: “I have absolutely loved doing this project. So many people have been really supportive of the design process and now the nominations. So many alumni have said how they’re gutted that they can't do anything for it as well. I can’t wait for the torch to be finished, unveiled and displayed prominently throughout the year.”

The York Sport Committee is now looking for ten torch bearers, with one member of each of the university’s colleges, to carry the torch ten miles each from York to Lancaster on May 4 for the annual Roses competition.

You can nominate yourself or a friend to be a torch bearer and the decision will be made at the end of Week 1 of the summer term, and Unsworth revealed he has had eight nominations so far.

The torch will be carried around each of the university’s colleges to display it to everyone and encourage strong college involvement, before it is cycled over to Lancaster attached to the handlebars of the bike.

Unsworth told The Yorker that the University of York Cycling Club has agreed to help maintain the bike and support torch bearers on route and Scott Cycling will provide the bike and equipment needed.

RAG will also be involved, fundraising in York and Lancaster as well as in every town that the relay passes through.

Unsworth said: “Roses is the biggest inter-universities sporting event in Europe and this year we're including even more people than ever doing more and more things.

“The whole idea has been centred around including as many groups in the project as possible, so for the campus nominations it would be great if people could talk nominations over with their JCRCs but more than one person can be nominated per college. If this is the case, the York sport committee will decide who will carry to torch around their college.

“The plan is to do as much of the riding as possible when its light, setting off from 8am and arriving roughly around 6 or 7pm but we will provide the equipment needed if it gets dark.”

At Lancaster, the torch will be carried around the campus by Lancastrian students before being taken to the opening ceremony, where it will be displayed on a plinth.

The torch will remain at Lancaster’s campus for a year until the next Roses tournament when it will be carried back to York for the Roses 2013 competition and will stay for the following year.

Torch bearers can either nominate themselves or someone else by sending their name, email, phone number and a brief explanation of why they deserve to be a torch bearer on a certain part of the journey to by Wednesday April 25 (week 1 of summer term). If you have a preference to which part of the journey you wish to do then please include that in your explanation.

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