Lookback at 2012 - The London Olympics

By Carl Jackson Thursday 27 December 2012 Updated: 03/01 14:48

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THIS SUMMER, residents really got into the Olympic spirit to celebrate London 2012, making for some fantastic stories and golden memories.

The build-up to the games was immense, with so many schools hosting their own sports days and taking the opportunity to learn about the cultures of different nations and the history of the Olympics.

As part of the Get Set Network programme, many pupils, including those from Haybridge High, planted special trees along a designated route from William Brookes School in Much Wenlock to the Olympic Park, commemorating the birth of the Olympics as we know them today.

London 2012 was particularly timely for the Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletics Club which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

Founding member Edgar Nichols was selected for the British Olympic team the last time the games came to the capital in 1948.

Then, there was the mammoth 70-day torch relay with more than 7,000 people around the country taking part.

The flame passed through Droitwich Spa on the way to the Olympic Park.

And, among then chosen to be torch-bearers, in recognition of their outstanding community work, were Paul Hutchins and teen Eleanor Smallwood - their efforts to encourage others to take part in sport were a crucial part of the Olympic legacy.

Every person The Standard reported on in the relay had an amazing story to tell and were well worthy of being cheered on by the crowds as they ran their designated legs.

It really was an event for all generations, perhaps no better illustrated by the story of Bromsgrove man John Hunt, who took his children and grandchildren down to cheer on torch-bearers, 64 years after his father took him in 1948.

Then on July 27, the build-up was over and London 2012 began.

Many local schoolchildren, including some from South Bromsgrove High School, stood proudly in the guard of honour, welcoming competitors from the athletes' village to the Olympic Stadium.

Crowds gathered in Sanders Park to see Danny Boyle's breath-taking opening ceremony on a big screen. Those who went along were also treated to performances from local dance and sports groups.

At the games itself, Bromsgrove was marvellously represented by the likes of Dan Fox in hockey and Rachel Bragg, who made history playing in Team GB's first ever female indoor volleyball team.

And then there was Jess Varnish whose heart-breaking disqualification in the cycling team sprints after smashing a world record was a shock and disappointment to us all. Hopefully Jess will be back to become a star of Rio 2016.

But is was not just athletes who did us proud.

Margeret Werrett, from Droitwich, was one of only four starters at London 2012, and of course there was Brutus - the Rubery labrador who was part of the London 2012 security operation.

An impressive haul of Team GB medals and a couple of 'Mobots' later the Olympics was finished, and the focus turned to the games' lasting legacy.

Many, such as Lickey Hills Primary School pupils, buried time capsules themed on the games which will be fascinating to look back on in years to come.

For most, the Olympic legacy, will be the feeling of immense national pride at putting on such a show from start to finish, the small parts we all played in its celebration and, hopefully, some inspiration for Team GB champions of the future.

For more pictures, visit www.bromsgrovestandard.co.uk

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