Flying the flag for Olympics in Suffolk

SUFFOLK will play a key role in a national day of celebrations to mark the handover of the Olympics from Beijing to London.

Tom Potter

SUFFOLK will play a key role in a national day of celebrations to mark the handover of the Olympic from Beijing to London.

All eight local authorities have accepted an invitation from Lord Sebastian Coe to 'Fly the Flag' and are busy organising events or incorporating the moment into existing events.

With the Games already under way in Beijing, it will be difficult not to dream of 2012. But we won't have to wait long for the commemorative Olympic flags to arrive and kick off the handover celebrations.

On Sunday, August 24, the Mayor of Beijing will hand the real flag to the Mayor of London as part of the Olympics closing ceremony.

This is the moment when the UK officially becomes the next host of the Games and will be followed by a short handover ceremony to welcome the world to London in 2012.

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To mark the moment, specially commissioned London 2012 handover flags will be raised in towns and cities across the UK hosting their own celebrations - and Suffolk is going all-out to be part of the carnival.

Adam Baker, Suffolk project manager for the London 2012 Games, said: “There will be a number of things taking place to celebrate the moment the flag is handed over.

“London will get eight minutes of the closing ceremony in Beijing to invite the world to the 2012 Olympic Games.

“Every district, borough and county council has been invited to raise a flag and hold an event to celebrate. Every council in Suffolk has taken up the invitation and will be involved.”

How will you be celebrating the handover? What else can we do to mark the occasion? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

SUFFOLK County Council will host an event at Endeavour House in Ipswich that will not only include a ceremonial flag raising but will also include the launch of 'Lap of Honour', a project documenting the Olympic and Paralympic Heritage of Suffolk.

The project is a first for the region, according Adam Baker, Suffolk Project Manager for the London 2012 Games.

Mr Baker said: “It is important for us to celebrate the achievements of Olympic and Paralympic athletes from Suffolk.

“This would be something we could continue to pursue into the future and use as an inspiration for other young athletes.”

The Lap of Honour launch will include the first screening of a short documentary film that has been made recording the memories of Stanley Cox from Felixstowe who took part in the London Olympics in 1948.

Mr Cox represented Great Britain in the 1948 Games in both the marathon and the 10,000 metres, and in the marathon in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

Now 90, Stan is one of the local healthy walk team leaders, which helps people of all ages keep fit.

To round off all the celebrations, there will be the unveiling of the first batch of Suffolk County Council SportsAid Scholarship recipients and 2012 hopefuls.

A total of 12 scholarships will be doled out to athletes from the Suffolk area recognised as being right at the top of their chosen sport.

Each athlete will undertake an ambassadorial role for the county as they prepare to graduate from national success to international excellence.

Ipswich mayor David Hale is as enthusiastic as anyone to see the celebrations come to his home town.

He said: “This is a great accolade for the town. I encourage anything that celebrates sporting achievement in the area.”

In addition to the flag raising, a free live stage show will take place on The Mall in London for up to 40,000 people. It will feature top bands, acts and lots of special guests.

Events will be taking place all over the county. They include:

A fun doubles tennis tournament is being held in Felixstowe at one of the district's training facilities that are set to be used by overseas competitors.

At 2.30pm, Felixstowe's very own Olympics veteran, Stan Cox, will be on hand to unfurl the Olympic flag at Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club.

The tennis club at Bath Road is one of four training facilities for the 2012 games, with Bentwaters being on offer for cyclists, Otley College for equestrian teams, and the Ipswich Town training facilities at Bent Lane also available.

In Forest Heath there will be a flag raising ceremony at High Lodge Forest Centre in Brandon handover. High Lodge is an accredited pre-Games training camp for mountain biking and this will be a partnership event, hosted by Forest Enterprise.

Free swimming is being made available at the Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre and Stradbroke Pool on the Sunday from 12 to 5pm, to celebrate the official handover. This is being organised jointly by Mid Suffolk District Council, which owns the facilities and SLM which operate them on the council's behalf.

ActiveWaveney Sports Partnership invites you to attend their 2012 handover celebration at Lowestoft North Lifeguard Station and Southwold Lifeguard Station for a launch followed by light refreshments. Get there at 2pm for a 2.30pm start.