London 2012: Lady Godiva puppet starts Olympic journey

A team of textile and glass artists from across the West Midlands created an embroidered coat for the puppet

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A 6m-high puppet of Lady Godiva has started its journey from Coventry to London to celebrate the Olympics.

The puppet, powered by a team of 100 cyclists, went to Ryton, Warwickshire, on Sunday night and travelled to Rugby on Monday.

Hundreds turned out to see Godiva "awake" in Coventry on Sunday.

Unlike the original Godiva - who rode naked - the puppet is dressed in an embroidered coat created by a team of artists from across the West Midlands.

According to legend, Godiva rode naked on horseback through Coventry in protest against high taxes.

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Members of the public in Coventry described the puppet as "really beautiful", "lovely" and "absolutely wonderful".

One of the cyclists, Jonathan Mayes, said he was expecting to ride "20 to 30 miles a day... so it goes quite slowly".

Justin Tipple, from Shaw Sheet Metals and who helped create the cycle structure which moves the giant puppet, said he had already had to make repairs.

He said: "They had a couple of problems with a couple of bikes."

Godiva's journey to London, part of the London 2012 Festival, represents the arts from the region at the Games.

Another 11 arts projects are representing Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England's other regions.

The puppet, transported using a bike called the Cyclopedia, will go to Northampton, Milton Keynes, Luton, Hatfield and Waltham Abbey before arriving at Waltham Forest on 5 August.

Former Olympian David Moorcroft, who chairs West Midlands for 2012, said Godiva was "synonymous with Coventry, my home city".

He described the Godiva event as another "in the Olympic programme in Coventry, Warwickshire and the West Midlands that makes us feel proud".

Kathi Leahy of Imagineer Productions, which has been involved in the Godiva Awakes project, said she felt "just so much pride... in Godiva and our city at this moment".

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