Ashes-winning cricketer Paul Collingwood brandished the Olympic Torch like a cricket bat as he started Day 30 of its tour around Britain and Ireland.
He turned the flame upside down and appeared to mime a cover drive for the cheering crowds in front of Durham Cathedral.
Collingwood, who is a local lad from Shotley Bridge and who plays for Durham, said he was thrilled to be asked. He performed his duties with a great smile despite a broken bone in his right hand.
Before setting off he said: "I am like a kid at Christmas.
"It's not ideal timing to break a bone in my right hand as I was going to carry it in that hand.
"It's going to be a great day, everyone has smiles on their faces - I certainly have a smile on mine. I feel really privileged. It's great to have my hands on the Olympic Torch.
"It's great to show off Durham and it's fantastic to have the choir playing, the cathedral and to walk through the Market Place. It really is a dream."
The Dean of Durham the Very Rev Michael Sadgrove said: "It was very moving to see the torch lit outside the cathedral."
Collingwood took the torch through Durham's historic streets to the Market Square.
The relay will then head east to the coast, south to Hartlepool then back west to Bishop Auckland, and on to Darlington. The day will end in Middlesbrough with a party.