A rousing cry of “Let the games begin” and a cheer from more than 250 local school children and 100 young college leaders launched today’s Flames Festival at Loughborough College.
Folllowing a double win for Flames in prestigious national awards the crowd heard stirring words from Olympic medallist Tommy Godwin and from his fellow Flames ambassador and Olympic hopeful Nicola White before being joined by them for a morning of activities – topped off with every child being given the chance to run with Loughborough College’s original 1948 Olympic torch.
Flames:Lighting the Way, which was launched by Loughborough College in association with the British Heart Foundation to promote physical activity and health messages and the Olympic and Paralympic values began as a local project but has now reached 50,000 young people across the UK and scooped the Pierre de Coubertin Olympic Vision prize at last Thursday’s ceremony overlooking the London 2012 stadium.
One of only six finalists from more than 230 entries nationwide Flames won the top honour for most living up to the ideals of Pierre de Coubertin, who founded the modern Olympics in 1894.
Loughborough College was also named as a Silver winner in the Podium Get Set Award for Inspiring Outstanding Learning through the London 2012 Games
Fresh from a gold medal win in hockey at the weekend with Team GB, hoping to be selected to play in this summer’s Olympics and training hard, Loughborough College student Nicola White says will always finds time for Flames. “To see so many children smiling and enjoying themselves is fantastic.
“Experiencing their own version of the Olympics and carrying that torch gives them memories that will never leave them – and will hopefully encourage them to continue being active throughout their life. “
Tommy Godwin, a double bronze medallist in cycling the last time London hosted the Olympics, in 1948, who has been to every one of the seven Flames Festivals, agrees. “They are such positive events, with so many young people having such a good time. That is a lovely feeling.
“Flames really has been, and will continue to be, a beacon for the whole country. It inspires young people with so many vital values and messages which can help them live a healthy and fulfilling life and I really do feel privileged to be an Ambassador to Flames and to be part of that.”