As Mayor of London Boris Johnson receives the 2012 flag in Beijing to mark the Olympic handover from the Chinese capital to London, Merton will take its own 2012 flag on a journey across the borough.
At around 2.30pm on the 24 August, following two weeks of world class sporting achievements, the bells of Christchurch, Colliers Wood will ring out for all to hear. Kicking off the four-year cultural Olympiad, the peels will signal to the young people waiting with baited breath at nearby Abbey Mills, to take the flag on the first leg of its 2012 metre journey to Merton’s Civic Centre.
The youngsters will carry the 2m x 1m flag over the crowds enjoying the Merton Abbey Mills Kidsfest celebrations to the Colour House Theatre. From here the flag will be handed to a group of six people who will follow the Wandle Trail. At various stages throughout the journey the flag will be handed over to different groups of six to reflect Merton’s diverse communities. After the Wandle Trail, the flag will be taken through Morden Hall Park and Morden town centre to arrive at the Civic Centre. Here, the Mayor of Merton councillor Martin Whelton will raise the flag over Merton for all to see.
Merton will celebrate the day of the Olympic handover with Kidsfest, part of the borough’s annual arts festival at Merton Abbey Mills called Abbeyfest. Kidsfest is a day dedicated to children offering them the opportunity to take part in workshops for art, crafts, pottery, music, drama, dancing, singing, balloon modelling, DJ skills and drumming. There will also be soft play and story telling areas, archaeological digs, relaxation sessions, rides, face painting and caricaturing. As the ideal backdrop to the fun and festivities, the bandstand at the heart of Merton Abbey Mills will be the stage for performances by the children, special guests, talent competitions and more.
Merton Council Cabinet member for Community Services Councillor Maurice Groves said: ‘Merton is lucky enough to be hosting an Olympic event, the only one in south London. The launch of the Cultural Olympiad will provide the spark for four years of cultural celebration up until London hosts the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Olympics is all about hope and encouragement. By combining the handover with Kidsfest, it is very appropriate, as this is a festival for children who are our hope and future.’
For more information on the Cultural Olympiad activities Merton has planned, visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/merton2012-events