School children from a Ripley primary school will form a guard of honour as athletes make their way into the Olympic Stadium tomorrow.
The eight pupils from St John’s CE Primary School on Dannah Street, Ripley, were picked after entering a mystery competition with teachers were sworn to secrecy about the prize - only revealing the historic treat this week.
The eight will join 249 other schools from across the UK and make up the 2,000-strong student Guard of Honour, which will line the route athletes will take to the opening ceremony of the Games. They will hold lanterns and banners they have created to support one of the 204 competing teams.
Deputy head Chris Howarth said: “The children were totally amazed and we are really chuffed!
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to see athletes from all over the world. Usain Bolt and Bradley Wiggins will be walking past them!
“We set off on Friday at 7.30am and won’t return until 3am the next day. On the way down we will be promoting a charity called All Join Jack, which raises funds to find a cure for Muscular Dystrophy.”
The school joined the Get Set Network, which organised the guard, last year and have been following two competing countries.
Mr Howarth, who will join the pupils along with two other members of staff, explained: “We followed India because we’re linked with a school there. East Timor only has two athletes in the competition. They are marathon runners and they have real stories to tell of Olympic values like courage and determination.”
The school was contacted by the Olympic Committee in December, but only the head teacher and deputy head knew.
They set a competition to produce the best project on East Timor, but kept the prizes a secret. The eight winners, Lewis Welham, Shaun Taylor, Kiean Hooper, Naomi Morley, Molly Stone, Hannah Barnaby, Shannon Goss, Rebekah Fowler and teachers Wendy Rose, were announced this week.
Pupil Shannon, said: “I am so excited I have never been to an Olympics before and this is going to be great.”
Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Lord Coe, said: “For athletes, the Guard of Honour will provide a stunning welcome to the Games and the perfect curtain raiser for the athletes’ Parade.”