London 2012 Olympics 'break children promise'

Parents of children promised a role in major Olympic ceremonies have said they are "disappointed" their children will now take part in local events.

Every child born on 20 December 2004 - the date 20/12 during the Olympics bid - was to be involved in a major event under the Children's Promise.

Parents have been told as there are 700 children they will only take part in local torch relay events.

London 2012 said the Olympic Torch Relay will be a major event.

The families of children born on the date said they relied on the promise made by the 2012 team and told their children about how "lucky" they were to be a part of the Games.

The date was chosen as 2012 Day. London's bid was submitted the following month.

'Hyped it up'

Every year on their birthdays, the children receive cards from London Olympics Chairman Seb Coe and his team addressed to "a very special London 2012 baby".

The children also received a Children's Promise Certificate signed by London 2012.

A petition to get the 2012 organisers to keep their original promise has received about 200 signatures, and is aiming for 1,000.

Michelle Harding, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, who set up the petition, said: "Because we were promised something bigger we have really hyped it up to them to make them feel special and very few children are going to take part in this, and now they have taken it away from them."

She added: "I feel when you make a promise, specially to a child, you are supposed to follow it through, so I feel they made a mockery of it, they've let the children down, because it was not for us, it was for them and they came to us and we didn't go to them.

"They should fulfil their promise."

'Great surprise'

Michelle Laughton, from Letchworth, Hertfordshire, said: "I hadn't heard anything about it until the day Emily was born and we had the local TV station come to the hospital and do an interview in the hospital.

"It was a great surprise, I got a little girl and also she's going to take part in the Olympics.

"I feel let down that the children's promise has been broken.

"They get their birthday cards every year and they got their certificate and now it's just nothing - a torch relay event in a local area."

A London 2012 spokeswoman said: "We promised that the children will take part in one of the major London 2012 ceremonies and events, and they will.

"The scale of the Olympic Torch Relay, with ceremonies and events all around the country, and in London, over 70 days is the fairest way to involve over 700 children from all over the country, and enable their family and friends to be part of their special day.

"Many of the parents and children are very happy with this plan."

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