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Seb Coe ‘Made In Britain’ Speech, In Full – 9 September 2012

The curtain fell on London 2012 tonight, as the Paralympic Games came to a tremendous end with their own Closing Ceremony. Lord Seb Coe delivered a fabulous and universally well-received speech, in which he thanked all those who’d made the Games so successful.

ROUSING SPEECH: Seb Coe delivered a closing speech that delighted the 80,000-strong crowd in the Stadium.

ROUSING SPEECH: Seb Coe delivered a closing speech that delighted the 80,000-strong crowd in the Stadium.

“Your royal Highness, Sir Philip, distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen.

Together these past few weeks, we’ve shared some wonderful days, haven’t we?

Days when incredible people have performed feats we hardly thought possible. Days in the Paralympic Games when our minds opened to what people can do, to what they can achieve by sheer talent and determination.

And I want to share with you two stories from these days. Everyone will have their own tales to tell, but these are mine.

I was travelling on the Tube when I met someone wearing the familiar purple uniform and a pass marked ‘Medic’. A Games-Maker. And the Games-Makers stand among the heroes of London 2012. We began talking. His name was Andrew, and he told me he was a doctor at St Mary’s Hospital, on his way to helping out at Boxing. But when I tried to thank him, he wouldn’t let me. He said he was the one who wanted to do the thanking. And as we did a very British dance over who should thank whom, he suddenly cut through all the politeness and said: ‘I was on duty on 7/7, that awful day. For me, this is closure. I wasn’t sure I should come, or whether I could face it. I’m so glad I did, for I’ve seen the worst of mankind, and now I’ve seen the best of mankind.’

Just a few days later, I met Emily, a Games-Maker at the Paralympic Games. She talked of what the Games meant for her, and what participating in Wheelchair Basketball means for her. ‘It has lifted a cloud of limitation’, she said. So Andrew and Emily, I’m going to have the last word: thank you. Thank you to you and all the volunteers.

The Paralympic Games have set new records every day: sporting records, records for crowds, the television audiences, for unbridled spirit. In this country, we will never think of sport the same way, and we will never think of disability the same way.

And Emily, yes: the Paralympics have lifted the ‘cloud of limitation’.

Finally, there are some famous words you can find stamped on the bottom of a product. Words that, when you read them, you know mean high quality, mean skill, mean creativity. We’ve stamped those words on the Olympic and Paralympic Games of London 2012. London 2012 – ‘made in Britain’.”

— Lord Coe, LOCOG Chairman, speech at London 2012 Paralympics Closing Ceremony, 9 September 2012

LEND ME YOUR EARS: Seb Coe appeared relaxed as he delivered his fourth and final Games Ceremony speech, at the closing of the Paralympics.

LEND ME YOUR EARS: Seb Coe appeared relaxed as he delivered his fourth and final Games Ceremony speech, at the closing of the Paralympics.

Don’t miss my poignant reflections on the end of London 2012, and read Boris Johnson’s ‘Olympomania’ speech that started the sporting festival over six weeks ago.

Review of the Week – 9 to 15 January 2012

Review of the Week: 9 to 15 January 2012

That Was The Week That Was

Week Two of 2012, and perhaps the most reported news story is only just beginning. On Friday (13 January) night, the Costa Concordia ran aground, suffering a gash in her hull and causing the cruise ship to partially sink. It’s not yet known how many people have died or what caused such a new ship to end up at a 70° angle, but it seems the vast majority of people on board managed to get to safety. You can read the Wikipedia article I started on the disaster here.

One of the most horrific stories of the week took place in South Africa, where an elderly couple were burned to death for “being witches” in front of their seven-year-old grandson, in Jacobean-style. Closer to home, Edinburgh Zoo’s male giant panda has been taken off public display, Ernst & Young were named the top gay-friendly employer in the UK, and TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson apologised for shoplifting from a Tesco store in Henley. The theft itself inspired a wealth of online jokes, including “Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it was shoved up AWT’s top”, and “There’s no such thing as a free lunch, unless you’re using AWT’s latest cookbook”.

Read the rest of this entry

7/7 Bombings: Five Years On – 7 July 2010

On the 7 July 2005, the country was waking to the news of the Capital’s successful bid to stage the 2012 Olympics. It was on the radio, Breakfast TV news programmes, and in the papers. It was these papers that were being read on the London Underground tubes when something completely contrasting happened. London was under terrorist attack.

july 7 bombing bus tavistock square london Four explosions went off that day; three on the underground, and one on a Number 30 bus. Miraculously, the top of the bus exploded outside a meeting of many Doctors and GP’s from across the country. While they lacked supplies, they had the knowledge, and improvised – stopping the blood from gushing out of the cuts was done with fireman’s gaffer tape – preventing deaths which would otherwise have occurred.

Of course, despite this, 52 innocent people lost their lives that day, with nearly a thousand others seriously injured. The BBC News website experienced a surge in traffic, receiving around 1 billion hits throughout the day, with up to 40,000 page requests per second. Bandwidth peaking at 11 Gbit/s, sending out 5.5 terabytes of data.

memorial Last year, then, to honour the dead, a memorial was built in Hyde Park, with 52 pillars – one for each victim who died. The memorial was designed by young architects Carmody Groarke, with four sections of columns. Each section represents each of the four explosions, with the correct number of pillars for each section.

“After Prince Charles had delivered a powerful and personal address, the relatives, in the pouring rain, moved forward and placed flowers beside the memorial. I saw a boy in shorts and a baseball cap next to an elderly woman in a wheelchair. They all brought roses. A red one symbolising love, a white rose for peace.”

Peter Hunt, then BBC Royal Correspondent, 7 July 2009

Today, on the fifth anniversary of the attacks, there was no official ceremony, but there was an unofficial gathering of the survivors and the day’s victim’s families. Flowers were put down in memory of the dead, and a wreath was laid with Prime Minister David Cameron’s name – though he was not at Hyde Park in person. The message then, clearly, is that five years on: We still remember them.