Crowds are lining the streets and thousands are gathering in Birkenhead Park to welcome the iconic Olympic Torch.

The Torch Relay is set to arrive in the borough via the Wallasey Tunnel at around 5.45pm today and make its way round Birkenhead before catching the Mersey Ferry back to Liverpool.

Wirral West MP Esther Mcvey is at the special celebrations being held Birkenhead Park.

She said: "It is sensational here today and it is fantastic for Wirral.

"When I heard that they were originally taking the torch through Chester and Liverpool and by-passing Wirral completely it didn't seem right.

"The event had brought everyone together and shows how beautiful Birkenhead park is."

The celebrations began from 4pm in Birkenhead Park as Wirral Council hosts a sports and fitness jamboree to mark the special occasion.

The free event includes activities such as belly dancing, Zumba and line dancing.

There will also be demonstrations from gymnasts and trampolinists.

Along with community hero torchbearers, former Spice Girl Mel C and Olympic Champion will also be carrying the famous flame through Birkenhead.

Mel, known as Sporty Spice in her spice days, confirmed her involvement on her Twitter page yesterday when she excitedly tweeted: “I am carrying the Olympic Torch tomorrow!!! Arrrrggggghhhhh!”

She added: "I'll be running on Park Drive, Birkenhead Park 6.15pm tomorrow. Will then accompany the torch across the River Mersey to the glorious city of Liverpool for celebrations scouse style! #pride.”

The earliest people will be able to see the torch is around 5.50pm when it reaches the junction of Dock Road and Duke Street - it will be in convoy mode until that point so not visible to the public.

It will then be carried by specially nominated torchbearers along Duke Street, Park Road North, Park Road West and Ashville Road, before entering Birkenhead Park.

After leaving Birkenhead Park it will then be carried through Birkenhead Town Centre and through Hamilton Square, before being taken across the River Mersey from Woodside by Ferry.

A number of traffic restrictions will be in force to allow the safe progress of the torch and to enable the event in Birkenhead Park to take place.

This includes the temporary closure of Ashville Road, Birkenhead, to traffic from 7am-7pm, and the closure of Ferry Approach Road, Woodside, at its junction with Chester Street, from 5pm to 7pm.

Residents and businesses living along the route are warned to expect some disruption to normal traffic flow on the day. However bin collections due to take place on the route will take place as normal (please bring in your bin after collection as soon as possible).

Commuters too should be aware that the Torch is due to reach Wirral during peak commuting time.

Due to the pressure on parking spaces, people are advised to use public transport wherever possible.

Organisers LOCOG (London Organising Committee Olympic Games) is advising people to arrive at the spot they want to stand about an hour before the Flame is expected to arrive.

For more information about traffic restrictions visit