Jamaica Day at Burlington Danes Academy
AS OLYMPIC excitement begins to reach fever pitch, school children from Shepherd’s Bush are preparing to support one of the world’s best athletes – Usain Bolt.
Students from Burlington Danes Academy have been picked to form a guard of honour that will line the route as athletes head to the opening ceremony of the Games – and their faces could be beamed to a billion people around the world.
The youngsters, whose school is an extraordinary success story in one of Hammersmith and Fulham’s most disadvantaged areas, will support the Jamaican team as they travel from the Olympic Park to the Olympic Stadium, in Stratford, on July 27.
They will be tasked with cheering on Bolt, currently the world’s fastest man, and women’s 200m champion Veronica Campbell Brown, and will wave banners and hold lanterns along the route.
Their privileged role will come into play the day after the Olympic torch is carried close to their school, across the finishing line of the 1908 White City Games, as part of its journey through Hammersmith and Fulham.
The students are already brushing up on their knowledge of the Jamaican team and held a day of celebration on Tuesday at their school, in Wood Lane.
Principal Sally Coates said: “This part of west London has a rich Jamaican heritage, so it’s fitting that students from Burlington Danes will be welcoming the Jamaican athletes on their approach to the opening ceremony.
“The academy is a community of nations, but we’ll happily be Jamaican for the day on July 27.”
As well as having the opportunity to cheer on the world’s best athletes, the youngsters will also get to tour the Olympic Park before the world turns its attention to film director Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony.
Olympics chief Lord Seb Coe said: “The presence of so many young people at the start of the opening ceremony will continue to show London 2012’s commitment to put young people at the heart of the Games.
“For athletes, the guard of honour will provide a stunning welcome to the Games and the perfect curtain raiser for the athletes’ parade.”
The Olympic torch will be carried through Fulham and later into Shepherd’s Bush and White City on its way towards east London on July 26, with a party held in Jerdan Place, Fulham, between 11am and 3pm to mark the historic event.