Sunday, 29 July 2012

Godiva Awakes

Many people have heard the legend of Lady Godiva, who rode naked through Coventry to protest against taxes for the poor. What may not be so well known is that Coventry is tying into the London 2012 Olympics by 'awakening' Lady Godiva from a 1000 year long sleep.
The Godiva Awakes ceremony happened over the last weekend in July to coincide with the opening of the games, and on Monday 30th July this fabulous animated Lady Godiva model will set off for London, powered by a 'cyclopedia' of 25 attached cycles.

This photo of me alongside Lady Godiva shows the huge scale of this fabulous engineering project.
Godiva no longer needs to ride naked as, thankfully, women today don't need to take their clothes off to make a point.

This project is not just a way for Coventry to tie in with the Olympics, although Godiva will be part of the closing day when she will be in London to hand over a book of intent containing details from all of the young people who have worked on the project for the past 2 and a half years. The Godiva Awakes project demonstrates the skills in and around Coventry, from the engineering needed to animate such a huge model, build her 'horse' shown below and link the cycles together, to the fabric making skills needed to create the undies she is wearing which were designed by the amazing Zandra Rhodes.

I was so lucky to be involved in the Godiva Awakes project as a volunteer, an opportunity that came about because I had also volunteered as a city ambassador welcoming visitors to Coventry for the Olympic football. So far I've met people from Japan, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Mexico and Gabon. It has been a complete privilege to be involved in these events and this summer has reminded me to be proud not just to be British but to belong to one of the best cities in the UK.

You may think that being 'sent to Coventry' is a bad thing - but believe me, we love to welcome visitors to our city so if you get the opportunity to come and visit us, please do. You may even be able to see our lovely new Lady Godiva who, over the next few years, will be having a permanent home built for her near our legendary cathedral.

One final photo of Godiva - I love this pic of her size 72 feet. I always thought my feet were big! 

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