Flying the flag for West Oxfordshire
West Oxfordshire residents have the chance to make history by helping to celebrate the moment when London becomes the official Olympic Games host city.
West Oxfordshire District Council has organised events to take place on Sunday, August 24th, the day that will officially mark the start of the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics when the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, accepts the Olympic flag.
The Council has been given an Olympic Handover Flag by the London 2012 Organising Committee. It has arranged for this to pass through the District on a 38-mile journey before it is raised at the Council’s offices in Woodgreen, Witney. Woodstock Harriers and Eynsham Roadrunners running clubs have kindly organised for some of their members to run with the flag from Eynsham to Chipping Norton, onto Carterton and Witney.
The runners will start at the Council-run Bartholomew Sports Centre, Eynsham, at 7.30am and will stop off at each of the Council’s leisure centres on their way. The final team of runners is expected to arrive at the Windrush Leisure Centre, Witney, between 1pm and 2pm. The Council’s leisure partner, Nexus Community, has kindly agreed to run free or discounted activities for residents throughout the morning, ranging from free badminton and free gym inductions to discounted swimming access and even a free family roller-skating disco (see below for more details). The flag will then be taken to the Council’s Woodgreen Offices where Cllr Hilary Biles, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Tourism and Health, will be joined by some of the District’s top sports performers.
The flag will be hoisted up at 2.30pm to coincide with the raising of similar flags at more than 500 locations across the country, from Unst in the Shetland Isles – the most northern point in the UK – to Land’s End, Cornwall – the most southerly point. Many of the flags will be raised at local authority offices, town or city halls.
The Handover event is the first of its kind in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Cllr Biles said: “We are very proud and extremely pleased to be taking part in this momentus occasion and invite West Oxfordshire’s residents to join us and help to make history. People can get involved by looking out for and cheering the runners as they pass through the District. We are very grateful to the running clubs for supporting this event.
“Residents can also take advantage of the special offers that will be available at the leisure centres in Carterton, Chipping Norton, Eynsham and Witney. Or they can simply pop along to the Council’s offices in Witney at 2.30pm to see the flag being raised and take the opportunity to meet some of our own sports achievers.”
Sports performers who join Cllr Biles in the celebrations are:
Graham Kiff (Triathlon): Won Gold at the 2008 Vancouver BG Triathlon World Championships, on the 9th August he will be participating in the London triathlon as part of project viper, which is a team of 20 visually impaired triathletes.
Felicity Denham (Weight Lifting): Came 2nd in her first British Championship in Kilmarnock, October 2007. She is also been Bristol Open Champion, South East Counties Champion and Club and County Champion.
Imogen Shayler (Freestyle Kickboxing): Represented England in the World United Martial Art (WUMA) World Championships in Paris. She currently holds the following titles in the under 16 categories, National Continuous Champion, British Point Grand Champion, British Continuous Grand Champion, European Continuous Champion and World Continuous Champion.
Children and young people who have been attending ‘Camp Windrush’, a summer holiday activity scheme at the Windrush Leisure Centre, have also been invited to create Olympic-themed flags to take along to the flag raising ceremony.
Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said: “When the Mayor of London accepts the Olympic flag on August 24th, the eyes of the world will turn to London and the UK as the next summer Host City. It is a very important and exciting moment for us and we want as many people as possible to join in the Handover celebrations. We are delighted that so many local authorities share our excitement and are proudly displaying the Olympic Handover Flag to mark this very special moment in our journey to 2012.”
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