The Olympic flame received a rapturous welcome through South Kesteven and South Holland before it left Lincolnshire for the final time.
Children waving bam bams and wearing Union flag hats were out in their hundreds along the route through Spalding, Moulton and Whaplode – and their rousing cheers sent the Olympic Torch on its way through Long Sutton and out of the county.
The flame had begun its journey on Wednesday – day 47 of the Olympic Torch Relay – in Market Deeping, travelling through Thurlby and Bourne before reaching Spalding on schedule around 9.30am.
But the crowds in the Market Place had begun arriving hours before, with some shops opening as early as 7am.
South Holland District Council chairman Coun Michael Seymour said: “It’s been great to see the shops coming on board for the event and opening early.
“The visit of the Olympic Torch is everything we hoped it would be. Even the sun came out.”
President of the Chamber of Commerce Jason Rooke was also among the crowd and thrilled with the turnout.
He said: “We are so pleased we left the bunting up – there’s a real carnival atmosphere.”
Early risers did not need to see a local VIP wearing a Lincolnshire sausage costume (as in Louth) to promote the county’s favourite sizzler. Hazel Woodley at The Maple Leaf in Spalding said: “We’ve been doing a roaring trade of Lincolnshire sausage sandwiches – it’s been really busy.”
Connor Batch (7), of Pinchbeck, was with his mum Jo, having a torch made for him by Martha Dancy, of Balloonatics.
He said: “I’ve got the morning off school to see the torch. I’m really excited.”
Tuning up for the torch’s arrival were Spalding Marching Ambassadors, who will be appearing at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London in 23 days’ time.
Bandmaster Jim Bright said: “We’ve been down to the stadium to rehearse, but coming here today has really brought home how amazing this is for us.”
Sing South Holland community singers were also performing. Director Liz Lenten said: “We’ve written a song – Aim High – just for the day.”
When the torch did arrive, it passed in a flash, but spectators said it had been worth waiting for. Some even tried to follow it along the route.
Torchbearer Amanda Scase (29), of Spalding, said: “It’s been the best 300 yards I have run in my entire life.
“Thank you South Holland. The people made us so proud.”