Today was my first day on duty as a City Ambassador for the Olympic Games in Coventry. Today was the day that the Olympic Torch Relay came to town and I was there in my lovely pink uniform, trying (and mostly failing) to control the very excited crowd who came out to cheer the torch bearers.
As ambassadors, our day began with a briefing from the Chief Constable, after which we were paired up with our police partners and loaded aboard our luxury transport (a double decker bus) to the torch relay route.
The crowds were slow to gather along the route but once there they showed plenty of Olympic spirit by proudly displaying their red, white and blue or their home made torches.
I was stationed at a torch handover point – known as a ‘kissing point’ because this is where the torches kiss to pass the flame from one to another. My kissing point was number 151 and when the bus came along to drop off the lovely lady who would be collecting the torch and running the next 300 metres she was also wearing number 151. This lovely torch bearer was called Debbie. You can see how happy and proud she was.
She received the torch from Freya and I had spent some time talking to both Debbie and Freya’s families before the crowd built up. They were all enormously proud of their girls and I did my best to help them get into the best position to grab photos of their special day.
First came the initial build up, when the sponsors advance party of vehicles passed by, handing out goodies and generally whipping up enthusiasm in the crowd.
Following closely behind these vehicles was the minibus containing the live camera which records the whole relay. Right behind this came Freya with her torch held proudly aloft before she ‘kissed’ torches with Debbie and handed over responsibility for the flame for the next 300 metres.
Almost immediately after the torch went on its way, the crowd began to disperse. I was surprised how quickly the huge number of people who had lined the streets just seemed to melt away.
A few moments later Mike, my policeman partner, received the message from his control to say we could stand down.
I honestly didn’t expect to feel so happy and proud to have played a part in the torch relay event but I had a really brilliant day. Now I’m just waiting for my next ambassador day on 25th July when I will be helping out on the ‘last mile’ near the City of Coventry Stadium. Roll on the Olympic Football!