Olympic torch relay ends on Thames

The Olympic flame has completed its journey on the Gloriana on the final leg of its 70-day, 8,000-mile journey around the United Kingdom ahead of the opening ceremony.

The torch, which has snaked its way through the UK and been seen by millions of excited spectators, was taken down the Thames on the royal rowbarge.

Torrential rain which battered the Diamond Jubilee river pageant last month was nowhere to be seen, as thousands of spectators flocked to the river banks to catch a glimpse of the flame.

The £1 million Gloriana, powered by 16 oarsmen, transported the flame downriver in a cauldron to Tower Bridge. Later the torch will be carried into the Olympic Stadium and the flame lit by a mystery VIP.

Friday's first torchbearer was Rosie Hynes, 18, from Manchester, who is part of the Great Britain under-20s basketball squad, who carried it in Bushey Park. Nine torchbearers then ran in relay through the grounds of Hampton Court, including around its famous hedge maze.

The last land-based torchbearer was four-time Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent, who carried the flame from the palace to the royal rowbarge Gloriana, last seen during the Jubilee pageant.

The last torchbearer of the day was Amber Charles, 22, from Newham, east London, who delivered London's Olympic bid in 2004. She carried the flame to Tower Bridge before it was taken to City Hall, where it will remain out of public view until the opening ceremony begins.

Locog chairman Lord Coe said: "Support for the torchbearers has been immense with over 13 million people lining the streets across the UK to cheer them on. Thank you to each and every person for giving the Olympic Flame such a magnificent welcome and celebrating the best of the UK with us."

David Beckham made a surprise appearance at City Hall, arriving with Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Lord Coe and the final torchbearer, Amber Charles. He said: "Over seven years ago, when Seb asked me to get involved with the team that was going to try to bring the Games to a part of London where I grew up I was very proud of that. Today is going to be an amazing moment."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "As excitement builds to a crescendo ahead of what promises to be a glorious opening ceremony, London is poised and ready for a fantastic Games."