Family fun day to mark London Olympics countdown

OLYMPIC HOPEFULS: Left to right, Savannah marshall, Amanda Coulson and Jemma Lowe
OLYMPIC HOPEFULS: Left to right, Savannah marshall, Amanda Coulson and Jemma Lowe

A SENIOR councillor has given her backing to a major event which will celebrate the London 2012 Olympics.

Celebration Village ... Let the Games Begin is a free day-long event planned for next month at the Summerhill Outdoor Centre and Country Park, off Catcote Road, in Hartlepool.

Hartlepool Borough Council has organised the event for Sunday, July 24, between 11am-5pm to mark the one year to go date to the London Games.

It will include a family fun run, sports demonstrations, displays and guided walks.

Organisers have also invited some of Hartlepool’s current Olympic hopefuls to the event, boxers Savannah Marshall and Amanda Coulson and swimmer Jemma Lowe.

It is part of the town’s pledge to celebrate the Olympics and comes after the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) asked local authorities to stage celebratory events.

Independent councillor Hilary Thompson, portfolio holder for culture, leisure and tourism, backed the proposals at a recent meeting.

Coun Thompson said: “A lot of work has gone into this and let’s hope that we have good weather.

She said the event will provide a massive boost to the town.”

Coun Thompson said the packed programme was “extremely” good value for money as the total budget is about £17,000.

Before the main “village” opens there will be a family fun run around the site starting at 9.30am, in partnership with the Burn Road Harriers.

The main event gets underway at 11am when the visitors centre and surrounding area will be hosting sports demonstrations by local clubs.

Confirmed displays so far include Hartlepool Wadokai, zumba demonstrations and Hartlepool Gymnastics Club.

Most activities will be as “interactive” as possible, while there will also be a play area for the under-fives featuring a giant chess board, jenga and tug-of-war, as well as picnic tables.

There will be a range of arts and dance performances, BMX displays and a trapeze group near the high ropes course.

There will also be four guided walks around the site at 11.15am, 12.15am, 1.15pm and 2.15pm.

John Mennear, the council’s assistant director (community services), said: “It should be a great family fun day.”

Hartlepool Sixth Form College students have been involved in marketing and promoting the Summerhill event.

A £10,000 grant from Arts Council England will fund the arts-based performances, while the council has provided the remaining £7,000.