AS many as 20,000 spectators thronged the streets and cheered enthusiastically as the Olympic Torch wound its way through Stroud and Painswick last week.

Beneath pale blue skies and a dazzling summer sun, large crowds gathered on pavements and in side streets to roar the Torchbearers forth on Wednesday, May 23.

As the flame made its way along Russell Street in Stroud, the air filled with the sound of whistles and horns as enthused onlookers cried out and jubilant schoolchildren waved flags.

Some shop workers were able to break away from their daily routine to join the celebrations, while a handful of residents leant out from windows above the route to shout their support to the procession streaming past below.

Bunting draped across shop fronts fluttered and glistened in the sunlight and an atmosphere of joy and excitement prevailed in the streets.

Mother of three Leesa Graham, from Minchinhampton, celebrated her birthday by watching the relay.

"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Torch and it was a fantastic moment for the kids," she said.

Her 11-year-old son Jordan said he could not wait for the Games to begin.

"I will watch the football, javelin, long jump and hammer throw. Those are my favourite events," he said.

Amberley Parochial School pupil Oliver Roberts, 11, said he was really looking forward to watching the Paralympics and the wheelchair rugby.

He had waited outside Swindon building Society in Stroud for around an hour and a half with his mother Rachel to see the flame.

She said: "The Olympics are brining people together under the banner of sport. I think it is very positive. Just look at Stroud it is buzzing."

After being delayed by half an hour in Bristol the Torch arrived in Stroud from Cirencester at about 4.50pm.

It was carried through the town centre, along London Road, past the Four Clocks, down Russell Street and Rowcroft, before passing by the new canal bridge and Merrywalks.

From there it headed on to Painswick and was held aloft through New Street and Cheltenham Road.

Later on, it made its way to Cheltenham racecourse, where a special evening event was laid on featuring music from rap star Labrinth.