Bolton's mayor Councillor Guy Harkin described the arrival of the London 2012 Olympic Torch in Bolton as a 'once in a lifetime opportunity'.
The 65-year-old told MM reporters that he had 'never seen anything like it', as thousands are crowding the streets in eager anticipation.
"It's fantastic" he said. "The smiles on people's faces is enough for me."
Cllr Harkin also described how important it was for the town and for sport in general.
He said: "It involves everyone in sport, gets people fit and brings the community together. I'm not competing in the Olympics, but I can run four miles!"