A HUGE party will be thrown at Knowsley Safari Park on the eve of a bumper bank holiday weekend to mark the arrival of the Olympic torch relay and celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The free event at the Prescot visitor attraction on Friday, June 1, which will include a talent show hosted by Radio City, is expected to draw a 6,000 strong crowd and will be the biggest celebration locally.

Organisers say the park will open at 10am and people lucky enough to secure tickets through a lottery-style draw will have full access to the venue.

From 12.30pm local groups will have the chance to perform on the ‘Moment to Shine’ stage which will be hosted by Radio City presenter, Claire Simonsen, as the excitement builds to the arrival of the torch at about 3pm.

De La Salle pupil Claudia Dowdeswell, a 14-year-old rugby union player with Liverpool St Helens and England juniors, is one of the torchbearers on the route that concludes at the park.

Knowsley Council is searching for community groups, who want to set up stalls in the park, as well as singers and dancers for the stage show.

St Helens and Knowsley Councils, meanwhile, are drawing up plans for the torch relay route. It will arrive in St Helens at Windle Island and later move on to Prescot.

The Star has reported on widespread disappointment that the bulk of torchbearers are not local (many St Helens people have been selected to carry the flame in other parts of the north west) but it is still anticipated that large crowds will line streets to watch.

The controversy sparked by the London 2012 selection panel has led St Helens Council to consider ways it can inject greater localism into the Olympic celebrations – to salute some of the town’s community champions.

One option could be for the local authority to stage an independent relay for St Helens over the bank holiday weekend.

n People who would like to go to the safari park event are asked to register interest at www.knowsleysafariexperience.co.uk .

Performers can also register this on www.knowsleysafariexperience.co.uk .

Community groups that would like to have a stall at the event, contact Steve Gowland on 0151 443 5208 or email steve.gowland@knowsley.gov.uk