With the incredible Paralympic Closing Ceremony over and the victory parade taking place today, I must admit to feeling very sad that the long summer of sport in London is now over. I have been overwhelmed by the dedication and passion that the athletes in both games have shown – something I hope to replicate in my triathlon training!
While the Games may be over in London, they are not finished in Great Yarmouth. I look forward to the parade through the town in honour of our gold medallist Jessica-Jane Applegate. She is a shining example of what can be achieved through hard work and determination and the whole of Great Yarmouth and Norfolk should be proud of her.
It is my sincere hope that the Games will never truly be over in the UK. Britain has always loved sport – from football and rugby to cricket and cycling. The difference now, however, is that sport has been taken from the hands of the well paid professional and been returned to normal people. The Games, especially the Paralympics, have shown us that whatever your age or ability, sport can be a unifying and rewarding experience. I look forward to seeing the Olympic and Paralympic spirit taking hold in Great Yarmouth for many years to come in the form of increasing membership of amateur sports clubs. The effect that sport can have on the health of our community, both physically and socially, should not be underestimated and I will do all I can to encourage young and old people alike to get involved.
The other area of the Games that really struck me was the positivity and friendliness of the Games Makers. Great Yarmouth knows all about welcoming tourists to the area and I was very pleased to see a similar attitude in London. In the face of long and stressful shifts, the volunteers stayed cheerful, with many dancing and singing while performing their duties. The Games have been a fantastic advert for what Britain can do as a country and I am sure that Great Yarmouth will capitalise on the positive image the UK has as a tourist destination. We live with fantastic people in a beautiful part of the country – the time has never been better to show people what we can do.