Christmas Sparkle

Regent St Lights - 12 Days of Christmas

After leaving the London Ambassadors Christmas Concert in Trafalgar Square I took a cold stroll up Regents Street to see the Twelve days of Christmas Lights…

12 Days of Christmas LIghts on Regents St

12 Days of Christmas LIghts on Regents St

12 Days of Christmas LIghts on Regents St

It was the first time I had walked the entire length of Regents Street and I loved seeing the architecture.

12 Days of Christmas LIghts on Regents St

12 Days of Christmas LIghts on Regents St

I had hoped to see more of London’s Christmas Sparkle myself but time and health were limited. I unfortunately had to forgo Reindeer Petting at Covent Garden, which i heard about on BBC Radio London. Also ice skating at Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park

However, I did catch fellow blogger Davide at Travelling Dave on Twitter going to The Chocolate Festival on the South Bank Centre Square on Sunday. He kindly agreed to capture some of the festive atmosphere along South Bank. So pretty to see our summer home all lit up with Christmas lights and the South Bank Centre Christmas Market.

Millenium Wheel All LIt Up

View from Above

Night time falls…

Xmas Markets along The Thames

South Bank Xmas Lights

Xmas Markets along The Thames

Big thanks Davide!

‘Magenta Magicians’ Christmas Concert 2012!

Preparations for London Ambassador Xmas Concert. Trafalgar Square

Mayor of London put on a Christmas Concert for London Ambassadors and some Games makers in Trafalgar Square on 8th December 2012. Fortunately it coincided with the Olympic / Paralympic London Ambassador Tree Planting Legacy (which I’ll write about next year) on 9th December 2012, so I was able to attend!

Door of The National Gallery Grab & Go Cafe

A bitterly cold day and I spent alot of it in the nearby National Gallery Grab & Go Café drinking hot tea and gorgeous cakes.

Venturing outside for exquisite singing by Jonathan and Charlotte (Runners Up in Britain’s Got Talent 2012) and The Centre for Young Musicians Concert Choir & of course Boris’s Speech!

London Ambassadors watching The Centre for Young Musicians Choir

Two fellow London Ambassadors were great company!

Met some lovely girls whom I spent the duration of the concert with. Plus caught up with old & new London Ambassador faces too!

Magenta fountains at Trafalgar Square. All lit up for us!

Unfortunately Mayor of London put reserved seating for those requiring it due to health/disability at the very back of Trafalgar Square facing a large screen, with no view of the stage at all. We asked could we move our seats to the front, alongside the wheelchair space, so we could see but were told no. The only place we were allowed to relocate was in front of the fountains behind those standing. Great view of the lit up fountains though!

Pink fountains at Trafalgar Square. All lit up for us

Christmas farewell after the event. People dispersing Trafalgar Square

BBC London mention the concert here!

‘I Made London 2012’

Megan and three of her fellow London Ambassadors outside the Hyde Park POD

Megan Trace (far left) and the other Young Ambassadors with Gary,
their mentor. Outside the Hyde Park POD. All won the excellence 
badges for their work!

 

GUEST POST:  MEGAN TRACE

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1. Why Did You Volunteer To Be a London Ambassador?

I volunteered to be a London Ambassador because I am passionate about the city that I live in. I was only 9 years old when London won the bid, and I remember our headteacher writing how incredible it would be if pupils could be involved in the Games. I was determined from that point onwards to have some form of involvement in the Olympics. It was my dream to compete in the women’s football after being coached by Rachel Yankey who played for Team GB at London 2012, but I was plagued by injuries so quit the sport a few years ago.

I didn’t want to give up with being involved, so I kept an eye out for other opportunities. I found out about being a London Ambassador on the day the scheme was launched, and went straight for it. I wasn’t that confident that I’d be successful as my recruitment stage was really tough, but was over the moon when I got an email on my 16th birthday telling me that I’d been successful!

2. Where Were You Located?

I was located at Hyde Park during the first week of the Olympics, from 27th July to the 1st of August.

3. My Location was a Good Place to Volunteer Because….

… we had such a variety of questions. The Hyde Park pod was located at Speaker’s Corner, so with close proximity to Oxford Street as well at the Hyde Park Live Site, people were asking us all sorts of questions. The only issue we found was that it was very weather-orientated, and things were a little quiet on our first day because it was raining quite a bit.

4. What Was Your Highlight?

The highlight of volunteering for me was meeting so many new people. The atmosphere was amazing, everyone was so happy during the Games and it was great to see so many people celebrating. The general mood before the Games was that too much money was being spent on it, but as soon as the Olympics kicked off, everyone wanted it to be an event to remember!

5. What Was The Hardest Question You Were Asked?

Hmm, this is a tricky one! I think the hardest questions were the ones to do with tickets. Many tourists came to London expecting to be able to get tickets here, and were disappointed when they discovered that most of them had sold out. Being based at a kiosk pod too also meant that people thought we were a ticket office, and that they could collect their tickets from us. As the official Hyde Park ticket office wasn’t open during my shifts, some people got quite frustrated when they realised they’d have to go elsewhere to collect their tickets.

6. Which Was your Favourite Visitor?

There’s too many to name! I couldn’t possibly pick a particular favourite, but we met a couple from the USA whose grandchildren had asked for a long list of presents from London, and it would no doubt be an early Christmas when they returned home. We also met two guys who’d flown over from Australia at 5am, and by 8am they were already out and jogging around Hyde Park!

Another favourite were the Canadian people we met, whose event didn’t start until the afternoon in Greenwich so they were looking for things to do. We recommended that walked down to Parliament, take a river boat cruise down to the North Greenwich Arena and take a ride on the Emirates Air Line over the Thames to get aerial views over London, which they thought sounded like a brilliant idea.



7. Which Resource Did You Consult Most?

I mainly consulted the resource booklet that we were given for the specific locations. After every shift, I would write down notes in the booklet of the questions we were asked the most during the day, or ones that we found we didn’t have an answer for, and I’d then research these when I got home.

8. Did You Visit Olympic / Paralympic Related Events in London?

I’d planned to visit some after my time as a London Ambassador, but due to illness I didn’t get the chance to. I made sure my mum went to Casa Brasil at Somerset House though!

8. Did You Have a Favourite Wenlock throughout The City?

Being a bit of a Geography nerd, I think the A to Z map Wenlock was my favourite! We had a lot of visitors who were doing a statue tour and trying to find all of them.

10. What Would You Like To Say To Boris?

Thank you so much for this opportunity. It’s hugely boosted my confidence, which has proven to be really helpful as I’ve just started at a new school but I’m not afraid to make new friends! This is just the beginning of my volunteering career, and I’m saving up to be a part of Glasgow 2014 and Rio 2016 

 

Megan Trace is my 2nd Guest Post. She was one of the Young London Ambassadors. Megan’s fantastic Olympic Photo’s can be seen on Tumblr. Over this coming year, I am featuring a number of Games Volunteers and Games Visitors talking about their experience of London 2012!

**Lord Sebastian Coe in his closing speech at The Olympics Closing Ceremony said all the Volunteers had the right to carry the phrase ‘I made London 2012’ as a badge of honour.

Our Greatest Team Athletes Parade!

Waiting... Before The Parade

Flags at the ready, before the parade. People next to me

Me, enjoying the moment!

Who Can You Spot? All the Dignitaries

The London Ambassadors were all invited to watch The Athletes Parade from along the privileged position on lining The Mall on September 10th 2012. Along with some of the Games Makers, Ceremonies Volunteers, TFL Volunteers.

Due to requiring a seat for most of the event I was inside the LOCOG Grandstand, opposite Boris Johnson, Sir Philip CravenSebastian Coe and all the other London 2012 dignitaries including David Cameron and Princess Anne.

We even had a wave from Boris at one point!

Cheering The Cyclists!

Also The Swimmers!

Prime Spot for the Finale! Infront of Buckingham Palace, facing the stage of Athletes

Streamers at the end in sky. Celebrations!

‘I Made London 2012!’

Jeff on Duty at the Olympics Opening Ceremony


 
GUEST POST:  JEFF TONG

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1. What was your Olympic Volunteer Role?

I was an Operations Assistant for the Opening & Closing Ceremonies for the Olympic and Paralympic Gamesbased in the Olympic Stadium and around the Olympic Park. I was one out of 800 volunteers who had the privilege to be the first Olympic Games to help out in all four ceremonies.

2. When did you volunteer?

My first induction for the role was on the 12/04/2012 and my final day was on the 09/09/2012 so almost five months.

3. Describe your uniform

My uniform was pretty simple, it was wear anything that covered all seasonal weather with a blue hi-vis so cast and crew knew what department we belong to, plus the all important radio. On the show nights we wore all black so we could blend into the background, the London Ambassador trousers came in very handy with all its pockets!

4. What did you do?

Our tasks varied a lot; before the cast arrived at the stadium, we prepped the stadium ready for the cast, lots of risk assessing and putting signage everywhere etc. When the cast did grace the stadium there was a lot of cast co-ordination and movement, keeping them safe from construction and restricted areas, catering and supporting all other departments in their role. Then on the actual ceremony nights roles would change again!

5. What was your highlight?

Since I arrived at the stadium, only a handful of people knew where the Olympic Torch, a.k.a. Betty, will be and what it actually looks like. On the Opening Ceremony night I was fortunate enough to be the floor manager of the Bell Stage, being inside the stadium to witness it all was brilliant but the only new thing that I haven’t seen rehearsals of was the torch. Seeing that light up for the first time, as the cauldron transformed and came together, the silence of stadium with the solo opera singer, absolute spine-tingling moment!

6. What do you feel you gained?

The amount of happiness I felt for all the performers and how much they appreciated our time and effort reaffirmed how great volunteering is and what it brings to other people. So amplify this by nearly 20,000 cast members and that’s what I gained. That and I gained a lot of pins!

7. Are you inspired to volunteer further?

I’m currently a volunteer for St John Ambulance so understand the importance of it, and when I was at university I was always helping out with the Student Union and running clubs and events as a volunteer. I feel that this experience has renewed my values of volunteering, doing something not for personal gain but for others keeps you grounded.

8. What’s your lasting memory of the Olympics and Paralympics?

I will always remember this as The Games that brought so much jubilation, inspiration and selflessness to the UK. For that I am proud to be part of the event that united the world.

 

Jeff Tong is the first of my Guest Posts. Over this coming year, I will feature a number of Games Volunteers and Games Visitors talking about their experience of London 2012!

**Lord Sebastian Coe in his closing speech at The Olympics Closing Ceremony said all the Volunteers had the right to carry the phrase ‘I made London 2012′ as a badge of honour.