YOUNG VOICES

London 2012 Olympics: East End Children Get Chance To Star In Games

27/01/2012 13:36 GMT

More than 900 East End youngsters will get the chance of a star turn at the London 2012 opening and closing ceremonies.

Dubbed the Mass Movement Team, the seven to 13-year-olds, who all hail from schools in the six east London Olympic host boroughs, have been vying for a place in the spotlight when the Games begin on 27 July.

Up to 1,650 youngsters from 18 primary and seven secondary schools have been auditioning in recent weeks to work with the likes of Oscar winner Danny Boyle and Take That live show mastermind Kim Gavin in choreographed displays and dance routines in the 80,000-seater Olympic Stadium and in front of a worldwide TV audience of more than a billion people.

All the schools involved are part of London 2012's Get Set education network.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: "Being part of the ceremonies is a great way of inspiring young people. I'm delighted schoolchildren from the host boroughs will be part of the show and help tell our story to the world.

"The students involved will have an incredible experience which will build their confidence and a sense of pride in themselves, their friends, family, school and wider community."

Some of the selected schools are already looking forward to the buzz of taking part.

Kerry Tabb, of All Saints College in Barking and Dagenham, said staff and pupils are "overwhelmed", adding: "Pupils at the school will benefit so much from the chance to represent not only our school but our borough at this unique opportunity.

"A real sense of pride will be felt by all."

Katie Parks, of Colegrave Primary School in Newham, described it as a privilege, adding: "We are proud beyond words and excited beyond belief. Bring on the Games!"

Jenny Wilkins, headteacher at Skinners Academy in Hackney, said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which will be fantastic for our students and will be one that students, staff and parents alike will always remember."

Mary Todd, headteacher at Marner Primary in Tower Hamlets, said: "It is such a huge opportunity for our children and staff and will bring the Olympics alive for the whole of the school community.

"We are a school that celebrates sport and sporting achievement and so the Olympics are hugely important to us. To have them taking place just down the road and having such direct involvement is a rare and wonderful opportunity."

Meanwhile, London mayor Boris Johnson spoke of the lasting effects of the Games: "We want to create a legacy from the Games by inspiring our young people and ensuring they are at the heart of the celebrations."

Applications are also open until 22 February for adult volunteer performers to audition for the ceremonies with organisers looking for 5,000 volunteer performers to fill roles as dancers, actors, percussionists and general all-round performers.

Anyone is interested can go online - at www.london2012.com/ceremoniescasting - to apply.