Commonwealth Games stir Olympic memories

published on 25 Jul 2014

As the Commonwealth Games get underway, those who took part in our 2012 Olympic Games efforts remember their favourite moments. 

Our Hadleigh Farm was the 2012 Games host venue for the Mountain Bike event and trainees from our Training Centre were able to support the event.

Hadleigh Training Centre Principal Bradley Craddock says: ‘My lasting memory from the time leading up to and throughout the Olympics would be one of emotion – that emotion being joy.

‘The event which best reminds me of this is the cycle skills training held for our trainees at Hadleigh Training Centre, which marked 100 days to the opening ceremony. The day was cold and wet but our trainees were animated, inspired and excited –the spirit of the Olympics had taken hold and the joy was for all to see on their faces.

‘The legacy of inspiration to embrace a challenge and to be the best we can be lives on at Hadleigh Training Centre. With this in mind, we’re looking forward to another cycling skills event for our trainees on the anniversary of the 2012 Mountain Bike event next month.’

Major Muriel McClenahan – then the Territorial Emergency Services Officer – took part in an operation to distribute water to those coming to events. She recalls: ‘Handing out the water was a great way of showing Christian hospitality to visitors to London on their way to the various Olympic venues.

‘The most compelling memory was the lovely atmosphere and a sense that this was how humanity was meant to be. There was a sense of national pride from competitors and spectators, but it was all in a non-threatening atmosphere of fun and a genuine sense oneness.’

Divisional Director for Community Services Beverley Egan – who is based in Essex and involved in Hadleigh’s Olympic journey – said: ‘The Olympics coming to Hadleigh and its proximity to the Salvation Army Training Centre and Tea Rooms enabled so many of our trainees opportunities they would have otherwise missed out on. That included their being among some of the first people to see the Olympic track through its construction stages to being used in 2012 to having coaching sessions on mountain bikes with Alex Dowsett – an Olympic road biker hopeful. One of the coaches even commented on the tenacity of our trainees even in the inclement weather!

‘Meeting Lord Coe, our trainees found first-hand how inclusive and caring he was – they thought he was great.

‘In the days leading up to the August event, meeting thousands of people from many different countries and finding a common ground of interest was a real experience.

‘Over the two days of the Mountain Bike event, the party atmosphere was a real carnival of the nations of our land. Laughter, banter, foreign languages, coloured flags, friendly Games Makers, police, soldiers, spectators and the visiting public too.

‘At the end of the weekend, exhaustion wrapped up in a blanket of satisfaction and pride of being involved in London 2012 with the expectation of the legacy to come.’