Coventry & Warwickshire

London 2012: Godiva completes journey to London

Godiva puppet
Image caption The Godiva puppet is part of the London 2012 Festival

A six-metre-high puppet has finished a seven-day journey from Coventry to London as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Lady Godiva, powered by a team of 100 cyclists, was met with a carnival procession in Walthamstow.

Waltham Forest Council Leader Chris Robbins received a Book of Intent, containing the hopes of young people from the West Midlands.

The Godiva puppet took two-and-a-half years to make.

Godiva travelled 125 miles through Northampton, Milton Keynes, Luton, Hatfield and Waltham Abbey on the way to the capital.

'Real buzz'

She was propelled by 25 cyclists at a time who were seated on full-sized tricycles which are joined together in a structure called the Cyclopedia.

Cyclopedia rider Keith Hirons, 65, a wheelchair user from Coventry, had a special hand-crank added to the tricycle so he could take part.

He said there was an "electric atmosphere" and a "real buzz of excitement" after finishing the journey.

Mr Hirons added: "It goes to show you're never too old to be involved in sport."

Fellow rider Beverley Samways, 33, from London, has lived in Coventry for 10 years. She said: "It's been quite challenging. We got drenched in torrential rain but everyone was cheering each other on. The whole team got involved, not just the cyclists."

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

Lady Godiva will be housed in a "secret location" in Coventry before being "awakened" again to take part in London's South Bank Festival in September.

After September, the Godiva puppet will be in a hotel in Coventry before a "special house" is built where she will be on permanent display, say organisers.

The Cyclopedia machine which carried Godiva will be on display at Coventry Transport Museum from 6 August.

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