Tomorrow it will begin its final journey. After 70 days, 8,000 miles, 8,000 runners and a Hyde Park party attended last night by 80,000 people to mark its final stop, the Olympic Torch will pass through the maze at Hampton Court Palace before setting sail down the River Thames on the royal barge Gloriana.

From the City Hall it will be transported to the Olympic Stadium to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony — and as the world’s best athletes get down to the serious business, one man letting out a deep sigh may be heard to utter: “Job well done.”

For Jay Osgerby, the designer from Oxfordshire who created the torch, can surely count himself as Britain’s first Olympic winner at London 2012, whatever else lies ahead.

Even our top athletes will be challenged to outdo the excitement, wild enthusiasm, mass participation and emotional scenes generated the length and breath of Britain by the torch relay, which started way back on May 18.

Witney-born Mr Osgerby, 41, is a former pupil of Henry Box School where he studied for his A-levels before going on to study foundation art at Oxford Polytechnic, now Oxford Brookes.

He and fellow designer Edward Barber, with whom he set up the Barber Osgerby studio in 1996 to work on architectural and industrial design projects, won the commission to design the Olympic Torch for London 2012 in the face of competition from more than 1,000 competitors.

The pair may have worked with such clients as Damien Hirst and Stella McCartney and for such institutions as the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Library, but they recognised that in 2010 they had really struck gold.

“We won the Olympics of design,” said Mr Osgerby. “When do you ever get an opportunity to represent the country in design terms like this? We’ve known that throughout this process at some point more than a billion people are going to be looking at our work.”

That point will arrive in the Olympic Stadium tomorrow.

It is cheering to learn that rather than seeking company prestige, like a certain security company we could mention, the pair say they chose to get involved in the first place because of sporting memories of the Olympic Games when youngsters.

“I always loved the Olympics. I remember, when it was announced that London would host the games, saying, ‘we’re going to do that torch’,” recalled Mr Osgerby.

But there was an agonising wait before they learnt that they had won the dream commission.

“After the presentation they said, ‘we’ll let you know in two weeks’. When they came back to tell us, they did the X-Factor thing on us — a kind of slow let down — ‘It was a really tough competition, you’re the youngest guys and we’re looking for a safe pair of hands’.

“At this point I was almost crying I was so gutted. Then they eventually said, ‘I’ve just come here to tell you that you’re designing the Olympic Torch’, and we literally jumped into the air.”

They were to spend six months perfecting their designs and also a refined design for the Paralympics.

He hinted at the huge pressure in an article for the design magazine Blueprint.

“One thing we realised pretty early on was that unlike most of the projects where people have a choice to buy the things we make, this is a design that is someway imposed on the nation.

“And that’s a lot of pressure. There’s a huge emotional aspect to it, but we approached it pretty much the same way we would any other piece of industrial design, though it’s fair to say we felt a little anxious, especially the day before the launch.”

With more than half of the torchbearers young people aged as young as 12, the designers made the torch as light as possible.

The inner and outer aluminium alloy skin is perforated by 8,000 laser cut circles to represent the inspirational stories of the 8,000 people who would carry the flame — at the same time offering transparency to ensure people could see right into the heart of the flame and view the burner system that would keep the flame alive on its long journey.

When he returned to his home turf in Oxford on the day his creation arrived in the city he told The Oxford Times: “It is only the second time in my life I have used gold in a design.”

The first time was when he used gold paint on the walls of Cafe CoCo in Cowley Road, where he worked as a barman more than a decade ago.

But any worries about the Olympic Torch design were extinguished when the pair were awarded the Design Museum's Design of the Year award for 2012.

Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum, said: “Nothing is harder to get right than designing for the Olympics. The lightness and simplicity of Barber Osgerby’s London 2012 Olympic Torch does just that. The torch not only captures the spirit of London as Olympic host city but also demonstrates how design can celebrate traditional ideas in a modern way.”

“We’re really pleased with the design and the reaction has been great,” said Mr Osgerby, who now lives in London.

He was also delighted to be awarded an honorary degree by Oxford Brookes University last month, when he spoke about the impact of growing up close to Oxford.

“Oxford has always been a source of inspiration. It offers opportunities for peace and reflection, as well as inspiration. There’s very few places that do that.

“I spent a lot of my childhood in the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers , which is the most amazing museum in the country and somewhere you cannot help but be inspired.

“I knew I loved making things and drawing, so I did a foundation course to build that into a particular direction. At Oxford I learned painting, drawing and photography and that helped me to decide that I wanted to specialise in industrial design.”

He arrived back at what is now Brookes with a torch and he was to be reunited with his creation at various points on its journey, including Blenheim Palace, near his family’s home in West Oxfordshire.

He describes the country’s response to the relay from day one as “incredible”.

“We’ve never experienced anything like it. It is all a bit of a daze.”

He recalls at the official launch doing a live feed into BBC World, and being nonchalantly informed that there was an audience of about 300m.

Of course, as the torch wended its way around the country the repeated reference to “the torch” made it easy to overlook that in fact there are thousands of them, with each of the 8,000 runners entitled to buy his or her own torch for £215.

With some choosing not to, London 2012 organisers even put some up for sale on an auction website. (News of one woman receiving a bid for £153,000 soon after the start of the relay made for unwelcome headlines, although the huge bid turned out to be a hoax.) But tomorrow the eyes of the world will be on the one torch that really matters, as the flame is plunged into the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium, leaving Mr Osgerby content that he has really delivered.