Letchworth company to keep Olympic torch alight

THE Olympic torch relay may be travelling 8,000 miles between May and July, but one company will be involved every step of the way.

TubeTec Concentric, a small business in Letchworth GC, was awarded a contract last October to create 11,000 hand-crafted tubes – which will keep the flame alight in thousands of torches as the relay covers the UK in 70 days.

The company in Blackhorse Road spent two months making a special tool to help construct the tubes by hand, before production began in January.

Each individual part has 28 bends in one metre of tubing, enabling the gas which will flow through the tube to be pre-heated to create a bigger flame.

Founded in 1992 by David Pearce, TubeTec Concentric has just five employees and joint director Adrian Briers admitted he was ‘suprised’ they were chosen after the project was put out to tender by gas company Ball Finch.

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“I must admit we didn’t really expect to get the job because there’s a lot more bigger companies than us,” said Mr Briers, who has been in the industry since he was 16.

The 66-year-old, who said 8,000 tubes had been made so far, added: “We’re just a small company in Letchworth. We’ve been specialising in small production for quite some years and we’ve got a lot of years of experience in tube bending so that must have helped.

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“Everybody is thinking about the torch but nobody seems to wonder about how they are produced and what goes into it.”

The company will be able to see first hand the finished article when the torch goes through Letchworth GC on Sunday, July 8. The flame will then be carried by torchbearers through Stevenage in the afternoon.

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