Crowds welcome the Olympic torch in Canterbury Street, Gillingham. Picture by Alfredo Perez
Kent has come out in force today to say farewell to the Olympic torch as it completed the final leg of its county relay.
The flame set off from Maidstone's Mote Park at just after 6.30am after a spectacular concert in Leeds Castle last night.
A huge crowd of around 40,000 people greeted the relay in Maidstone town centre.
The torch was then taken in a rowing boat along the River Medway to the town's rowing club.
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Video: Highlights from day four of the Olympic torch relay through Kent
The torch, which has covered hundreds of miles on its four-day spectacular route, then travelled to Medway.
It took a route through Gillingham, Chatham, Rochester, Strood and Higham to Gravesend.
The flame then stopped at Brands Hatch racing circuit - the site for a paralympics event later this summer - before heading off to visit Borough Green, Seal, Sevenoaks and Westerham.
The Olympic torch is carried through Maidstone (top) after being carried by Chris Bury in Mote Park. Pictures: Natalie Marsh and Kat Tye
Thousands of people flocked to Mote Park for an early-morning start to today's torch relay.
The crowds began cheering as Invicta Grammar School student Chris Bury, 17, set off with the torch.
Young and old lined the path through the park, before it moved on to Mote Avenue, where residents had piled out on to the streets to catch a glimpse.
Before any flame was lit, however, another form of relay took place at Mote Park.
Pupils from primary schools around the area lined the torch route and took it in turns to delight the crowds with jokes.
Tina Holditch, head teacher at Leybourne St Peter and St Paul Primary, said: "We all gathered at school at 5.30am and arrived here at 6am. Children from years 3, 4 and 5 took part, and there was a fantastic reaction from the crowd. Everyone joined in and it was a great way to start the morning."
The torch then made its way through the streets of Maidstone, into the town centre along King Street, the High Street, and Mill Street, before heading for the Archbishop’s Palace.
The Olympic torch is carried on a boat on the River Medway in Maidstone. Picture: Natalie Marsh
Huge crowds lined the banks of the River Medway, outside the Archbishop’s Palace and along the Maidstone bridge overlooking the river to see the torch carried on a replica royal barge.
There was a huge cheer when it was handed to torchbearer David Boyle as he had been given the honour of carrying it on the barge as it was rowed along.
There were plenty of chances for people in the town centre to see it carried aloft as the torch is carried at an average of just four miles an hour.
Crowds began arriving in the town centre at the crack of dawn.
Among the first to get make the early-morning visit were the Freeborough, Peter, Yapp and Ranson families (pictured below).
In the middle of the picture is Thomas Freeborough, nine-year-old Ryan Yapp in front of him and nine-year-old Claudia Ranson - who performed at Mote Park last night.
Spectators gathered in Maidstone from the crack of dawn. Picture: Denise Eaton
Maidstone council has laid on a plethora of street entertainment in the town to celebrate, with morris dancers, a steel band and more for the morning.
The torch was carried on board a replica royal barge and rowed along the River Medway to Maidstone Rowing Club at 7.30am, where it left the town to head to Gillingham - where hundreds of flag-waving people lined the streets.
Some turned up as early as 7am to secure their place at the front as it passed Medway Park at 8.10am.
Soldiers from the Royal School of Military Engineering stood to arms outside the barracks, kites were flying in the Great Lines Park and screaming school children skipped their morning lessons for the "once in a lifetime" opportunity.
Torchbearer Mohamed ‘Danny’ Dada in Gillingham (top) - where hundreds of people lined the streets. Pictures: Rebecca Hughes
Torchbearer Mohamed ˜Danny" Dada was cheered on by students from Chatham Grammar School for Boys.
The geography teacher ran down Brompton Road with the flame after being nominated by an ex-student at the former Chatham South School for being an "inspirational" person.
Current student Callum Morris got up extra early to see his teacher.
The 17-year-old said: "He has done so much for the school and for cricket so I wanted to come and see him with the flame. He won't let anyone forget that he's been a torch bearer now.
"It was brilliant to watch, but I didn't expect to see such a big turn out."
Cannon fire at Fort Amherst to mark the Olympic torch relay. Picture: Kelly Pike
It then passed through Dock Road, Chatham, with cannons being firing from Fort Amherst.
The highly-anticipated event was marked with a series of loud bangs from Fort Amherst as the procession made its way along Dock Road, past Medway Council’s offices.
The crowds were kept entertained with street performers and there was a carnival atmosphere as the torch entered Dock Road at about 8.20am before making its way through Chatham bus station and on towards Rochester.
Jessica Cheesman carries the torch in Rochester. Picture: Dan Bloom
In Rochester, the torch was carried around the Vines Gardens, Rochester Castle and Rochester Cathedral.
Carrying the flame past the iconic landmarks were Jessica Cheesman, who was overcome with emotion when she saw her severely disabled son Stephen came out as a surprise to watch her, and multi-marathon runner Sarah-Anne Mooney, from Halling.
The cathedral bells rang, planes and a helicopter buzzed overhead, the crowds cheered and whooped and entertainers on stilts built up to the big moment.
Loud shouts erupted from Howard School pupils in Corporation Street as one of their classmates - Year 7 pupil Nathan Mitchell - took the torch over Rochester Bridge.
Residents sat with cups of tea outside their houses and pubs and cafes put on special breakfast stalls for the early start.
Sharon Edwards, 59, of St Williams Way, Rochester, said: "I arrived at 5.40am. I went to the royal wedding and the jubilee and camped out but this is especially important because the torch bearers have achieved so much."
The torch then headed to Higham, Gravesend, Seal, Sevenoaks and finally Westerham before leaving the county.
The 63rd day of the torch's relay finishes in Guildford later today.
It has spent four days in the county, gathering support from hoards of flag-waving spectators along the way.
A host of celebrity torchbearers were among those to tour Thanet yesterday, where crowds of an estimated 120,000 people lined the streets.
The street-by-street route for the Olympic torch for Day 3 in Kent
06:42 Maidstone Mote park car park
Mote park car park - Left Turn
Mote Park entrance
Mote Park gates - Veer Right
Mote Road - Right Turn
Wat Tyler Way
Wat Tyler Way - Left Turn
High Street - Left Turn
A229 Bishops Way - Veer Right
A229 Mill St - Right Turn
Archbishop's House entrance - Right Turn
River approach path to jetty
07:05 Maidstone ALT - Rowing boat from
ALT - Rowing boat to Maidstone Rowing Club
Maidstone Rowing Club
Maidstone jetty forecourt - Veer Left
James Whatham Way to A229 Royal Engineers Rd
CONVOY: Maidstone - Gillingham
07:50 Gillingham A231 Canterbury Road from Crosley
A231 Canterbury Road - Veer Left
Skinner Street - Left Turn
A231 Jeffrey Street - Veer Left
A231 Arden Street - Veer Right
A231 High Street
08:09 Chatham A231 Brompton Road
A231 Wood Street
A231 Dock Road
A231 Dock Road - Right Turn
A2 Globe Lane - Right Turn
Medway Street - Right Turn
Rochester East Row
East Row - Right Turn
Vines Lane - Right Turn
St Margaret's Street
St Margaret's Street - Veer Right
Boley Hill - Left Turn
A2 Corporation Street
A2 High Street
A2 High Street - Veer Left
A2 Commercial Road
A2 Commercial Road - Veer Right
A2 High Street
A2 Castle View Rd
A2 Castle View Rd - Right Turn
A226 Gravesend Rd
A226 Gravesend Rd to 'Thank you for visiting Medway' sign
CONVOY: Rochester - Higham
09:37 Higham A226 Gravesend Rd from Copperfield
Higham A226 Gravesend Rd
Higham A226 Gravesend Rd to 50 speed sign
CONVOY: Higham - Gravesend
09:51 Gravesend A226 Rochester Rd from Thong
A226 Rochester Rd
A226 Milton Rd
A226 Milton Rd - Left Turn
Wellington Street - Left Turn
Saddlington Street - Right Turn
The Grove - Left Turn
A226 Milton Road
New Road - Left Turn
A226 Darnley Rd
A226 Pelham Rd
A226 Pelham Rd - Left Turn
B261 Old Rd West
B261 Old Rd West - Right Turn
A227 Wrotham Rd
A227 Wrotham Rd to 40 mph signs
11:20 CONVOY: Gravesend - Borough Green ALT -
Paralympic Bicycle on Brand's Hatch Circuit
12:04 Borough Green A227 Wrotham Rd from Wye
A227 Wrotham Rd
A227 Wrotham Rd -Veer Right
Western Rd - Right Turn
A25 Borough Green Rd to NSL sign
CONVOY: Borough Green - Seal
12:19 Seal A25 Maidstone Rd from sign for Seal
village and 30 speed sign
A25 Maidstone Rd
12:26 Sevenoaks A25 Seal Rd
A25 Seal Rd - Left Turn
A225 St Johns Hill
A225 Dartford Rd
A225 Dartford Rd - Right Turn
Pembroke Rd - Right Turn
A224 London Rd
A224 London Rd - Left Turn
13:16 Riverhead A25 Westerham Rd
A25 Westerham Rd to Bessels Way
CONVOY: Riverhead - Godstone
Kent's torch relay ends!