THE Southend Primary School Sports Association have started their own Olympic torch relay.

Their torch will travel to 48 schools in the borough in the next three weeks.

And Great Britain international 1,500m runner James Shane was delighted to play a part in its launch at the Eastwood Academy.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea and I was pleased to be able to come down to see it,” said Shane, who ran with a group of pupils at Eastwood Primary School.

“It’s a great way to include more youngsters in what’s going on and I just hope it encourages them to get involved with sport and keep active.”

The torch was made thanks to funding from both Southend Borough Council and Olympus.

Six runners have been selected to represent each school.

They will collect the torch before passing it on.

The association’s Hayley Pegg will be making sure everything runs smoothly.

And she feels it is a good way to end a fine 12 months for sport in the borough.

“This relay project really tops off a successful year in sport for Southend,” said Pegg.

“It complements our 2012 Passport scheme and really is an opportunity to enthuse the pupils of Southend before they break up for the summer holidays and the Olympics.

“We hope that the projects that will run help excite all years into really taking part in sport over the summer holidays and that they will be ready to get going again in September when the schools return.”