London 2012 Olympic Games: Dreams come true in closing ceremony

AS the curtain fell on the London 2012 Olympics some Comet country residents played their part in the closing ceremony last night (Sunday).

Leonie Shephard helped open up proceedings in the scene reflecting cosmopolitan London just after 9pm.

The Stotfold resident was dressed in a newspaper costume and then appeared on one of the party tables as the 80,000-strong crowd were entertained by the likes of Madness and the Pet Shop Boys.

The 26-year-old, who has been running Aspire School of Dance in Hitchin for the last two years, said: “It was a little bit scary going out first as the world was anticipating what was going to happen.

“It was pretty incredible, the bit that had me the most was when we walked out as all 80,000 people cheered.

“It was a chance to perform in front of so many people and something that the whole world was going to see, I’ll never have that opportunity again.”

Hitchin resident Gemma Morris was also involved from the start, performing as a dancer on one of the trucks going round the stadium and joining in the party scene.

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“When we first came in on the truck we couldn’t see out because it was covered in newspaper,” said the 26-year-old.

“Coming out of the truck was amazing, we got the crowd involved and to see them reacting to what we were doing was brilliant.

“Where we were waiting was right by the VIP area so we saw the Spice Girls, Ed Sheeran and Russell Brand got on our truck and was having a laugh with us.”

Melissa Mroch from Baldock was one of the performers who helped build a pyramid made up 303 white boxes - each one representing an Olympic event.

The 21-year-old was also able to witness the men’s marathon medal ceremony during her 20 minutes in the spotlight from 9.55pm.

“The atmosphere was absolutely incredible,” she said.

“Even sat waiting to go into the stadium you could hear everything.

“I’ve been watching the Olympics as long as I can remember. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000 I remember saying ‘I want to be part of that if it ever comes to London’ so I’ve always dreamt of doing this. If there was any opportunity to do something like that again I’d jump at the chance.”

Kevin Rodgers was one of the 70,000 Games Makers who received a huge ovation during the closing ceremony.

The 35-year-old from Shefford was based in the Olympic Stadium during the Games and was there to lap up the applause on the final night.

He said: “It was a volunteering experience of a lifetime. I had the wonderful opportunity to watch Jessica Ennis, Usain Bolt and Mo Farah do their athletic’s stuff.”