Here’s the Sunny Colch catch up from Robert Needham, the official Town Crier of Colchester, following his big day out as part of the 2012 opening ceremony yesterday:
“What a day! My reporting time at Portcullis House, Westminster was 07:15. That meant catching the first available train out of Wivenhoe at 05:38. A reliable Circle Line connection from Liverpool Street ensured my arrival bang on time. I then had the first of three airport style security checks that followed throughout the day. Following an underground passage to the Houses of Parliament we emerged onto a splendid garden underneath the Queen Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben.
A party involving Mr Speaker John Bercow and Lord Tony Hall Director of the Cultural Olympiad formed on the lawn in preparation for 08:12. All were armed with a bell and the bells rang out for 3 minutes in keeping with the historically long chimes from Big Ben. A brief word with John Bercow saw him remembering his time at Essex University and his residence in students’ accommodation at Avon Way, Greenstead.
I meet up with two other Town Crier colleagues in time for a trip on the Thames where we greeted the Olympic Flame flotilla with a bell ringing flourish.
Next port of call, the Olympic village at Stratford. More security checks and we receive our pre determined accreditation passes and pass through the ‘iron ring’ of barriers and fences that protect this small city. Our job was to meet and greet with the athletes especially in the dining hall as the time for the athletes parade approached.
Teams of athletes departed from three separate locations in the village complex and made their way to the stadium via an amazingly co-ordinated zig zag route. A Town Crier was stationed at the exit of each of these sites and announced the name of the country as they passed on their way towards the arena. What a happy and cheery lot they all were and what a wonderful day I had.”
Next up for Sunny Colch on the Olympic agenda is local athlete Dominic King, competing in the 50km Road Walk race on 11th August.