Herts celebrates 'One Year and Counting' to Olympics

PUBLISHED: 18:23 28 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:46 20 February 2013

Rupert Grint and David Florence

Rupert Grint and David Florence

Things are really picking up pace in Hertfordshire with only one year to go - from July 27 - until the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Things are really picking up pace in Hertfordshire with only one year to go (on July 27) until the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

At the weekend (July 23 and 24), Hertfordshire hosted a series of events to celebrate London 2012 Open Weekend. At One Year and Counting on Saturday 23 July, 4,000 people enjoyed six hours of free entertainment in Waltham Cross Town Centre.

Some were lucky enough to meet Team GB paddler David Florence and Harry Potter star Rupert Grint who was providing support to his sister Samantha who performed on the day. On Sunday 24 July people flocked to OFest' at Paradise Wildlife Park where they enjoyed local talent performing on stage and taking part in various the Beat the Pro competitions.

The Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners Partnership is currently celebrating a fourth team committing to train in Hertfordshire pre-games next year. St Vincent and the Grenadines NOC are joining St Lucia and St Kitts & Nevis who signed up in October 2010 and the British Virgin Islands, who were the first to sign up in June 2009.

The St Lucian Youth Team will be coming to Hertfordshire en route to the Commonwealth Youth Games in The Isle of Man this year. The team will be staying with host families from Bishops Stortford High School and training at swimming and athletics venues during their time in Hertfordshire.

The Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners Volunteering Scheme has just been awarded an Inspire Mark by LOCOG. As part of the Partnerships commitment to closer and healthier communities, the Scheme has been developed which enables local communities of Hertfordshire to embrace the magic of London 2012 and organise events and activities that will involve volunteers.

The Scheme is being rolled out through the Hertfordshire Volunteer Centres and will also develop a bank of 2012 volunteers who can be deployed across the county during Games-time and in activities and events inspired by London 2012.

Hertfordshire is leading the way as the number one county nationally for schools registered on the London 2012 Get Set education programme and as number one in the East of England for CompeteFor registrations with 122 Hertfordshire businesses winning contracts through the contracts portal.

Recently the Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners Corporate Games took place and, after the positive feedback received, it is hoped that it will run next year too. Also earlier in the month, 360 free rafting places were offered to Hertfordshire school kids as part of Lee Valleys Schools Festival at the countys Olympic venue, the Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Chairman of the Herts is Ready for Winners Board, Derrick Ashley, said, 'The countdown to the Games really starts now! Local communities are getting involved, we are leading the way with Get Set registrations and local businesses are engaging with the CompeteFor procurement portal. We are certainly looking forward to the opportunities that the coming year will bring to Hertfordshire, forging new friendships and making the most of the occasion as the spotlight focuses on us as a host county during the London 2012 Games.'

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