London: Suffolk’s stars shine as London 2012 draws to a close

STARS from Suffolk shone as the world’s eyes turned from the hard-fought sporting spectacles of London 2012 to a nation celebrating its triumphs.

Bidding farewell to the Olympic Games, London put on a stunning musical extravaganza featuring the Spice Girls, Madness, Queen, Annie Lennox and Take That.

And the cream of the county’s musical and theatrical talent were right in the mix, rubbing shoulders with the headliners.

Chart-topper Ed Sheeran from Framlingham performed with rockers Pink Floyd singing their hit Wish You Were Here.

Performers including Julie Bryant, from Ipswich, and Michelle Forde, from Felixstowe, were given the chance of a lifetime to take part in the celebrations.

Julie, Junior Blues co-ordinator at ITFC, spent both the opening and closing ceremonies working with the audience in the stadium – making sure they were part of the show as well as having the chance to watch the show.

She admitted last night’s show was a real challenge because there was no time for a full rehearsal – it was used for athletics until 24 hours before the closing ceremony started.

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“When I perform there it will be for the first time,” she said as the final preparations were being put into place for last night’s show.

The party marked the end of British sport’s most successful Olympic Games in more than a century, which saw the final medal tally of 64 – 29 golds, 16 silvers and 19 bronze.

As the Games showed off the best of British sport, the closing ceremony, attended by Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge, was designed by artistic director Kim Gavin to show off the best of Britain’s past and present music scene, culminating with a glimpse of the carnival that awaits in Rio in 2016.

With legendary yachtsman Ben Ainslie leading the team out after claiming his fourth gold medal, the team members were able to let their hair down and enjoy the party to celebrate an Olympics that exceeded all expectations.

The Olympic Flag was lowered and then passed by London Mayor Boris Johnson to Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, who in turn presented it to Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes.

After speeches by Olympics supremo Lord Coe and Mr Rogge, the flame that reached all corners of the UK over 70 days was extinguished – and the London 2012 Games were declared closed.

n What did you think of the closing ceremony? What was your highlight of London 2012? Share your memories. Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk