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'Inspir8tion' hits Redbridge
Thousands of local Redbridge residents join the borough's 'Inspir8tion' carnival celebrations to welcome the Olympic flame to London.
The free carnival† event was held at the newly opened £4.5m Cycling Centre in Fairlop - the first piece of Olympic legacy in London.
In celebration of London's official status as host city, the centre was turned into a carnival fairground with arts, entertainment and music from across the borough being showcased.
A giant model of a Phoenix bird guided a procession of costumed dancers, musicians and youngsters around and through the crowds culminating with a fireworks finale.
Broadcasting the closing ceremony from Beijing a giant screen was erected which attracted cheers as London's mayor Boris Johnson was finally handed the Olympic flag.
Cllr Mrs Loraine Sladden, Mayor of Redbridge, officially opened the Cycling Centre to the public and welcomed the crowds to the carnival. She said:
Ballon-artist at 'Inspir8tion'
"Today is a demonstration of our commitment to the London 2012 Games and just a taster of the way we intend to celebrate the spirit of the Olympic Games during the next four years.
"This is a double celebration as we are also marking the opening of the Cycling Centre, which is a fantastic facility for cycling enthusiasts from across London, but more importantly for local people in our borough.
"This fantastic new facility will help us encourage more people get active and take part in a range of sports and physical activities - and who knows for some of you, it could take you all the way to the Olympic Games in 2012."
Performers include Chinese fan dancers
Raising the Olympic flag to celebrate the beginning of London's term as the 2012 host city was guest of honour, former Sprint Cycling World Champion and Olympic Silver Medallist 2000, Craig MacLean.
Road testing the new track Craig said: "It's a great track. To have something like this on your doorstep. I'm quite jealous."
Those wishing to try out an Olympic sport themselves were given the chance to take part in taster sessions in rowing, cycling and basketball.
Local residents were also being given the chance to record their views and hopes for the London 2012 Olympics in the 'People's Record'.
It will be the first time in the history of the modern Olympics that museums, libraries and archives across the country will capture people's experience of living in an Olympic host nation. Local people will be able to access the record at the Redbridge Museum and will form a lasting record for future study.
last updated: 26/08/2008 at 17:28