Lord Coe celebrates Our Games Our Legacy
Posted: Wed, 17 Oct 2012 14:54
Inspire LeicesterShire organised a visit by London Organising Committee for Olympic & Paralympic Games Chairman, Lord Sebastian Coe KBE on Friday 12th October. The event was hosted by Loughborough College and attended by Games Makers, Torch Bearers and schools.
Lord Coe has made several trips to the county in the build up to the Games, but this visit was particularly poignant because it was to celebrate the legacy achievements of Inspire LeicesterShire and its delivery partners.
Speaking about the event, Shimul Haider 2012 Games Legacy Director said "having Seb Coe here today really does endorse all the hard work we have all put in over the past three years to create a lasting legacy for the local area.
"We also wanted to take this opportunity to thank Lord Coe and LOCOG for giving us a truly spectacular Olympic & Paralympic Games with memories that will create a lasting legacy beyond 2012.
"Of course, the legacy journey still continues and Seb Coe was able to meet some of the incredible projects that are doing such a sterling job at delivering a legacy across the city and county."
During his visit, Seb Coe took time to personally thank our local London 2012 volunteer Games Makers for their unstinting commitment to making the Games happen. He also chatted to our torch bearers about their experience carrying the Olympic & Paralympic Torches. For many of them, the event was a humbling experience.
John Ball, from Kirby Muxloe, carried the Paralympic Torch on its final leg in London and said of the event …. "For me it was a wonderful opportunity to be part of what Leicestershire is doing to ensure the legacy of the games attracts more and more people into engaging in sports and physical/health and welfare issues.
"To meet up again with fellow Torchbearers, the Games Makers (volunteers) and of course all those people and organisations who do so much for sport both for mainstream and those with disabilities was for me very rewarding. It goes without saying that Seb put the icing on the cake. I believe Leicestershire is making great strides and will be a lead for others to follow"
Children from Stokes Wood Primary (city) and Woodbrook Vale High School (Loughborough) also got the chance to speak with Seb Coe and tell him how the Games have inspired them.
Caitlan (aged 10) from Stokes Wood said after meeting Lord Coe at the event: "He was just amazing. He was really kind once you got to know him. I was really nervous waiting to speak to him"
Paddy (aged 10) also from Stokes Wood said: "He is such a good role model for us and he really cared about what we are doing at school to develop our sport. He was really interested."
Head Teacher Jane Gadsby added: "It was a great opportunity for our children to meet such an inspirational man. "
The event also gave delegates the opportunity to ask Seb questions on legacy in a Q&A session compered by Andy Reed OBE.
For Loughborough College, hosting Seb Coe was four years in the waiting. College Principal Esme Winch said: "It was wonderful for Loughborough College to welcome Lord Coe and for him to see first-hand so much of what we are doing to develop a legacy from London 2012.
"Lord Coe met Olympic medallist and Loughborough College student Nicola White, mentor for our unique Elite Athlete Performance Centre and the College was very proud to see him present Sports Coaching Foundation Degree student Dan Headley with his award for Flames Leader of the Year.
"Dan was a Paralympic Boccia official this summer and was honoured for his role in the Flames programme developed by Loughborough College in association with the British Heart Foundation to establish a legacy of activity which has so far reached more than 50,000 young people across the UK.
"Loughborough College has some very exciting legacy plans on the horizon. This really is only the beginning."
Chris McGeorge, Elite Athlete Education Officer at Loughborough College added: "To have Seb at Loughborough College for the event was fantastic on so many levels. It was truly a celebration of all we have been working towards for London 2012 but also to ignite our legacy plans. Dan Headley is a real success story and just the sort of inspirational role model Seb was hoping the Games would create.
"Seb has a certain charisma that is infectious, the response of our young leaders, the spontaneous applause by the Games makers, his genuine interest in their stories, collectively made for a memorable day."
Ross Esnor from Dudley College, received a special commendation award from Seb Coe and was overwhelmed by it all "I feel very privileged ….. the event was a great chance to hear from athletes and games makers about their legacy plans and ideas."
His teacher, Robert Elkin commented It was a great honour to be in the presence of Lord Coe and see one of our students collect his award from him."
Two children from Stokes Wood & Woodbrook Vale presented Seb Coe with a special photo book marking the legacy journey for Inspire LeicesterShire over the past 3 years.
Before leaving the event, Seb Coe's parting words to us all was that … "With the extraordinary success of Team GB in the Olympics and Paralympics the opportunity for more young people to want to play sport is clearly there.
" … this is a golden opportunity. Of course I realise all communities live under challenging circumstances and local councils have very difficult decisions to make [regarding funding] every single day of the week but the point I would always make, because that's the area I have come from, is that sport actually is a bridge head into so many different areas.
"… I'm not sad the Games are over because the most inspirational part of the story is just about to unfold…"
His profound words made the audience realise that the Games may be over but its legacy continues to thrive in Leicester & Leicestershire.
This is best echoed in the words of our local volunteer Games Makers …
"After the summer of a lifetime and my Olympic and Paralympic blues, it made me realise it isn't the end but the start of what the games created. Amazing!." Natasha Devonshire
"It was really inspirational for me to realise that the Olympics aren't over at all! There is a huge swell of enthusiasm, community effort and energy that is just fizzing out all over Leicestershire! If you multiply that by the whole country just imagine what could be achieved!" Rosi Yule
"There is a real positive spirit that the Games legacy has created, encouraging the participation of more of us to become more active and involved in more sports." Aarti C Thobhani