Good Evening Mr. Bond

The Queen and James Bond taking part in the Olympic opening ceremony just blew me away. Both Bond and the Queen are quintessential British. China can have its drums and fireworks, but they do not have Bond, or the Queen. The words “Good evening Mr. Bond” will I am sure go down in history.

Elgar’s Nimrod told you in a few bars which country is hosting the games. This was followed up Perry’s and Blake’s Jerusalem, sung by a young boy who you would have to be dead not to be moved by it.

The whole opening ceremony was British to the core. It showed strife, hardship, humour and understatement. I am sure the many millions who were watching the ceremony were at times scratching their heads wondering what was going on. I say, who cares, as it showed Britain is different, and we like that.

Humour played a part too. Who would have thought Mr. Bean would be involved? Not me, but it worked. Music also played a very important part during the ceremony. Britain might not be an economic or military superpower, but it is a superpower of music. Though, if I could have a rerun of the ceremony, I would ditch McCartney. It was painful to my ears.

The scene of the industrial revolution forging the Olympic rings was just fantastic. I just loved how it all came together to tell a powerful message. British design was there too, with the ‘copper petals’ which formed the Olympic Cauldron. Each petal represented the 204 countries taking part. A first is all the teams taking part have female competitors. This is a remarkable achievement, too

I always feared we would try to match the Chinese opening ceremony, and I thought that would be impossible. However, I should not have worried because our ceremony showed the world we are at times a pretty odd bunch, but still a very proud nation which can still teach the world a trick or two.

The whole event had British firmly stamped on it. Well done Danny Boyle for the ceremony. It sure made me proud to be British.

The most iconic picture of the 2012 Olympics?

Is Selling the Olympic Torch Right?

A few days have passed since Cornwall celebrated the arrival of the Olympic Torch in style. This has set a high standard which other parts of the country would be hard-pressed to beat. However, it should not be too much of a surprise if a few of these Olympic Torches find their way onto well-known auction sites.

My first thought on hearing this news was of disgust, as how could someone sell something so quickly after having the honour of being selected to carry one. However, there could be reasons why they are being sold like a family is struggling financially, and the sale of this torch would help this family. You cannot really fault someone if they are putting their family first, as at the end of the day your family does come first. Could we all honestly say we would not think about selling if someone offered you a couple hundred thousand for it?

From my understanding, there were two ways you could be selected to carry one of the torches. One is you were nominated by a member of the public for the good work you have done for the community, and the other is being selected by one of the corporate sponsors.

LOCOG, the organisers put a cost on each torch at just under £500. The corporate carriers had their torches paid for fully. Whereas the ‘community nominations’ had to pay around £200 to be able to keep one of these torches. I think this is a mistake, as no one should have had to pay for them because this might have placed a financial burden on a family. I mean who wouldn’t buy a torch if you were selected to run with one?

If you were nominated by the community for all the work you have done in that area and decided to sell the torch, then surely the money (minus the initial cost) could, or should go to that community. If the figures are to be believed that torches are selling for over £100,000, then this money could really make a difference. Again, it would be hard to say this is wrong because there is a greater benefit to the community if a torch was sold.

The more you think about it, the more complex the issue is. You can now understand why LOCOG has taken a neutral stance on the selling of these torches. If they said you cannot, but are themselves making people pay for them, then it makes LOCOG look rather silly.

If someone feels they are financially disadvantaged by having to initially buy one of these torches I could use some of my community fund to pay for the initial cost of the torch, and I will then donate the torch to Helston Museum for everyone to see a part of history.

I guess the final decision on selling it and the consequences for that action lays with the owner of the torch

The Olympic Torch Goes Through Helston

The day had arrived when the Olympic Torch would start its 70 day epic journey around the United Kingdom with some 8000 people having the honour of carrying the torch. Helston was lucky enough to be selected as one of the town on this epic route. After Friday evenings feel-good event at the fence of Culdrose, the Boy and I set of early to bag a good position.

When we got into town around 8:30am the street were pretty empty, by 9am it started to fill up. By the time it got to 10am, Coinagehall Street was packed with 1000’s of people all eager to catch a glimpse of the torch. You could feel the excitement in the crowd with the cheering and waving of flags every time a car passed. You could not help but join in and wave at a bemused bus drivers on their service routes.

The torch was running a little late, but you knew it was coming with all the cheering coming up the street. It got to my position just after 10:30 with the crowd around me cheering like they had won the lottery. And then it was all over. The boy was filming and we had a full 18 seconds of the torch as it passed us. 18 seconds might not sound a lot considering how long we had been waiting, but it was sure worth it, and well worth the wait.

As the boy and I headed down to the Boating Lake to take part in the events there, the Torch Bearers from the Helston part of the routes were happily talking and having pictures taken with people. It was really great to see this and people waited their turn to have a picture taken. However, what really surprised me is these Torch Bearers were more than happy to just hand over their torch for people to hold and have their picture took with one. I am not sure if this was part of the brief, but If not I thought it was fantastic for the Torch Bearers to allow people be part of history too. After all holding a Olympic Torch is an once in a lifetime opportunity.

Here are some pictures taken during the event:

Helston 9am

9:30 am

10:30am

The Olympic Torch

A Great Moment


The Olympic Torch Lands at RNAS Culdrose

Tonight, along with the boy I made my way to RNAS Culdrose (It is a Naval Base, not RAF) to await the arrival of the Olympic Torch. Not lucky (or important) enough to be invited inside the base, I stood at the perimeter fence of the air station. I thought I was in a good position for the plan to fly overhead, but the damn wind changed direction in the last hour and the plan landed on the other end of the runway.

To my amazement, I would say at least 1500 – 2000 people had the same idea. It was a truly amazing site to see so many families watch a plane land. The atmosphere was great, with people generally excited the torch was landing in their own backyards.

Touch Down

The Golden Plane Taxing to the VIPs

 

Helston’s 18 Minutes of the Olympic Torch

Details have been released of the route and timings for the Cornwall leg of the Olympic Torch as it travels the UK. It is good to see the relaxation of much of the secrecy surrounding the route. For Helston, the citizens of the town and the surrounding area will have the ‘pleasure’ of seeing the torch for a whole 18 minutes. The route the torch will follow will be:

Arrival Helston 10:07 am; 10:10 Helston Penzance Rd; 10:14 Monument Rd; 10:15 Coinagehall Street; 10:18 Godolphin Rd; 10:25 Helston – Falmouth Rd

The torch then arrives in Falmouth at 10:53. I suppose Helston should be grateful for being included in the route because it is 18 more minutes than Camborne or Redruth will receive. This is Cornwall has posted the whole route and the timings HERE

 

 

 

Truro Olympic Torch Civic Event

The Chairman of Cornwall Council, Pat Harvey is well aware many people will have difficulties in seeing or attending events connected with the Olympic Torch due to the issue of the torch quickly passing though a limited number of towns and villages in Cornwall on the 19 May 2012.

To celebrate this, the Chairman will be hosting a Civic Event at Truro Cathedral; which will be a free event to all invitees. In a letter to all Cornwall Councillors, the Chairman, asks for nominations to attend this event. In that letter, the Chairman says:

I would like to open the Civic Event up to those who would not normally have the opportunity to attend such events. I am therefore asking all 123 Members to send in nominations. Please could you nominate members of your community that you believe deserve the opportunity to attend this event. I am not restricting the number of nominations, but should we exceed expected numbers, all names will be sorted by constituency and put in to a hat to be drawn at random.

Please send all nominations to Kate Varcoe (kvarcoe@cornwall.gov.uk). The closing date for nominations is Monday 26 March 2012. It is very important that all nominations are received by this date as the deadline will not be extended.

Please include the following information with every nomination:

Name, address, contact number, reason for nomination, dietary requirements – please give details and any hearing or sight difficulty or mobility issues – please give details

You can either nominate people directly, or contact me and I will make sure those nominations are passed-on.

Stepping on Madam Chairman’s Nicely Polished Shoes

For the last few days there has been news coverage on a motion that will be debated at Tuesday’s Cornwall Council meeting. This motion has one aim. That aim, is to re-clarify, and give clear guidance for the civic role of the Chairman of Cornwall Council. This motion has been submitted by me, seconded by Andrew Long (MK), and supported by Jeremy Rowe (LD), Jude Robinson (Lab) and Steven Rushworth (Con). This cross-party support shows how important the role of the Chairman is.

The motion is as follows:

“The Local Government Act 1972 sets out that the Chairman of the Council is the civic head of the authority and is given precedence at civic events (this is not the case where there is an elected mayor or, in the case of royal events, where the Lord Lieutenant takes precedence).

Therefore, this Council recognises the intent of the Act and ensures that the Chairman, as the civic head of Cornwall Council, is in attendance and the council lead, at all events relating to the Olympic Torch Relay  including the receiving of the Flame at RNAS Culdrose, at Lands End, at Truro and, if possible, at the handing over at the border with Devon and, beyond that, at all future events of this stature and significance”.

The concern of many Cornwall Councillors is the non-political role of the Chairman is being sidelined when Cornwall Council is to be represented. This has come to the forefront, over the Olympic Torch Relay. Considering Cornwall Council is dipping into the coffers to pay for this event (in Cornwall), it is only right that any representation on behalf of the council is non-political, and represents all of the council; which the Chairman does.

Of course, there has been the accusation of this being political mischief, but how can it, when the motion is supported by all political parties and groups at the council. This cross-party support just goes to show it is non-political, and furthermore, shows the importance of the civic role of the Chairman.

I can honestly say this motion would never have seen the light of day if reassurances had been given to Councillors, clearly accepting that the Chairman was the lead in any civic function required by the Council. Those reassurances were never given and it was felt this issue would have to be dealt by the whole council in an open and democratic way.

The sad part to all this is the perception that senior members of Cornwall Council are squabbling over who gets into any possible photo-shoot. I feel this is unfair, from my point of view it is not the case. Lines have been blurred, and these lines need to be clearly (re)established to make sure this does not happen again.

Roll on Tuesday…

Olympic Torch Route – All Hush Hush

You would almost have to be clinically dead not to know the Olympics are being held in the UK this year. It is also well know that a torch will be travelling the length and breadth of the UK in a build up to the grand (and probably very expensive) opening ceremony.

Cornwall has been selected as the first landmass in the UK to receive the torch. Depending on your viewpoint this is being seen as a blessing or a curse. The planned route has also caused outrage in some areas of Cornwall; because the torch will not being going though certain logical areas.

The town of Helston has been selected as one of those areas who will receive the torch. I am disappointed Porthleven has been missed out. As I see no logical reason as to why it has because it is, basically, on the route to Helston (turn right at stop-gate instead of going straight on).

Because part of my division is in Helston, and I am very keen for Porthleven to be included in any of the celebrations, I am part of the working group looking at events in Helston. This is great, because a lot is planned during the day and early evening. However, arising out of this, it seems the actual route and timings of the arrival of the torch are top-secret.

No-one outside of  a small group of the local town council knows the actual route and timings of the route. Those in the local council have had to sign a confidential agreement before they were told. I am struggling to see the rational to this because you would think it is in the best interest of the Olympic organisers to have as many people, and events going on along the route.

Being on the working group, but not knowing the details, makes organising anything almost impossible. How can I expect anyone to take part, or put on events if no one is allowed to know the rough route and timings? All I have been told is the date, and that it’s going through Helston. Worse is when those who do know keep saying “I can’t tell you those details” or the old line “If I tell you I will have to kill you.”  Though the latter comment was said slightly tongue in cheek.

The more I get involved in trying to do something for the area, the more I get disappointed in the process and overt obsession with secrecy for the Olympics. I have been told there is ‘intelligence’ that there might be demonstrations to the Olympics, so this is the reason why hardly no-one can be told of the timings.  However, details will be released two weeks before the event. So, if you were going to wave and anti-Olympics banner, two weeks is enough to make any banner, and plan where to be…

Let’s hope the organisers wake up and smell the coffee, or they might find a lot more disillusionment in these Olympics with no one bothering to take part,  or trying to make this a day to remember.

 

Olympic Torch Goes Through Helston

News released this morning by the London Olympic Committee on the route the torch will take as it travels through Cornwall. The route goes though 20 towns and villages in Cornwall. The route is as follows:

This will take place on Saturday 19th May 2012 and will start at Lands End. It will then travel through Sennen, Newlyn, Penzance, Marazion, Rosudgeon, Ashton, Breage, Helston, Falmouth, Truro, Newquay, St. Stephen, St Austell, Stenalees, Bugle, Lanivet, Bodmin, Liskeard and Bodmin before it crosses the boarder into Devon.

Views are still mixed on spending £130k on a one day event, as are the billions spent on hosting the Olympics. For me, it is just disappointing that the torch will not take a right turn at ‘Stop Gate’ and come through Porthleven.

Here is a interactive map from the Olympic Committee HERE

Torchgate – Two Days Later

I am still counting and my anger has not subsided since I found out about the amount of money being spent by Cornwall Council and The Cornwall Development Company (CDC) on the torch relay. At first it was £20k, then £13k, then £17k and finally it was announced a fund of £135k has been put aside.

The cock and ball story on the numbers of people who will travel to Cornwall to see a torch being carried is a work of fiction and could be entered for a literary award. It is not only the numbers or people, but also the amount of money they will spend defies logic. Have these people forgot there is a recession on?

Before someone announced these figures they should have checked with the London Olympic Committee, or at least checked their press statements. You see, and I quote Lord Coe.

“The relay aims to go within an hour’s travel time of 95 percent of the population”

This is followed up by the Olympic minister Hugh Robertson saying:

The Olympic Torch Relay brings London 2012 to the doorsteps of the UK giving everybody the chance to celebrate the London Games

If Lord Coe and the Olympic minister say just about everyone will be able to see the relay in their own backyard, then why in all that is holy are the powers-to-be predicting such high visitor numbers for a one day event? Blind-Pew could see these figures do not add up.

If the Council was awash with money, then maybe we could spend this money, but it is not. I will give you an example (one of many) on how hard it is to find money for simple things.

For the last two months I have been trying to get the missing dog bins in Porthleven replaced. In total 5 are missing. I even said I would settle for three being replaced. You would think this is a simple process. Officers who I have met with to discuss this issue have been very helpful to the point of being apologetic, but they have said there is no money for the replacements; let alone any additional bins.

For the cost of a few hundred pounds I cannot get a bin (or three) replaced. But with one stroke of a pen £135k can be found. Have certain senior people at Cornwall Council got their priorities right?

It’s a joke, and this joke is not the funny type.

Oh, and I still want the dog bins replaced. Maybe if I call them Olympic dog bins I will get as many as I like!

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