The opening scene looked gorgeous, we saw animals, and beautiful meadows, with cricket and badminton and fun. The music was serene and calming, we relaxed in our seats and drank in the atmosphere. Watching as the water wheel turned, the badminton players played (badly), and the cricketers scored runs, it was beautiful.

The clock ticked towards 9pm.

Little did we know just what we would be in for this evening. Like the rest of the world would be later in the week, we had no idea about what we would see tonight. But one thing we did know, we weren’t the rest of the world, we were a handful of very very lucky volunteers, sat in a prime location virtually on our own. There were (apart from the performers) about 100 of us in the 80k seater stadium, and although the place was empty, later we would learn it would be filled to the roof with atmosphere. We relaxed a little and discussed what we were watching all around us.

Boom! All of a sudden we were no longer watching and listening to the opening ceremony, now we could feel it through our bones as hundreds of drummers started to make their way into the stadium. The sound was awesome and all around us, enveloping us totally, as the scene morphed from showing the quintessentially british at leisure to the industrial revolution, the drums, the noise, the work, the dark satanic mills and towers all begining to rise up from the ground.


We had stopped talking long ago and by now we had almost stopped breathing, no longer thinking about anything other that what was unfolding before us and the poor PC that was faulty was now not getting any of the attention anymore. We were transfixed on what was happening in front and all around us. We were very lucky people, and we knew it.


When I chose the location to sit in, I had thought we would be well hidden, sat right at the back of the lower press tribunes, out of sight of any of the events happening in front of us, in front of some of the stadium offices. Just like when you sit at the back of a room, where no one would notice, naughty kids sat at the back.

So it was with surprise when I looked behind us during the ceremony that I noticed that the office behind was now all lit up, and there were people in there too. A lot of people, and I think I could make out a recognisable face.

Slowly the neurons in my brain started to come together and I did recognise a face, it was definitely familiar, that face had been in the press, a lot. Ah yes, it was Danny Boyle, standing in a room (with a huge open window) about 6 feet away from us.

It transpired that we were sat right in front of the ceremonies production office, and Danny Boyle was looking out of the window. Far from finding somewhere quiet to hide, we had found possibly one of the most high profile locations in the stadium, we all sank a little bit lower in our chairs and hoped we hadn’t been noticed.

Completely awestruck about what we were seeing we continued to watch, totally immersed in the atmosphere and the events. Not a word was said, or whispered or even hinted as the iron rings lit up and came together to form the Olympic symbol, we were mute and probably not even moving, glued to our seats. However there would be no fireworks tonight, even we would not get to see all of the ceremony, some of it kept hidden, keeping the suspense for the real opening night.

And then the sound of a helicopter could be heard, getting closer, before hovering overhead. This was not unusual around the area, and when we lent forwards in our chairs we could just see it hovering above the stadium just to our left. I quickly glanced back into the production office, and could see the live image of the helicopter on their huge plasma screens. I couldn’t quite make out the figures who leapt from it though, which was probably a good job too.

The scenes continued to flow, from the the industrial scene to the arrival of the Royal party ( we did stand when their stand-ins were welcomed into the stadium and the national anthem was played), and then the NHS scenes began to unfold before us. I was hugely moved at this point, watching the children performing on their beds all lit up brightly, somersaults, jumping and smiling and the nurses dancing, it was another powerful scene, beautifully choreographed spelling out GOSH and of course NHS and the smile. We watched as the scene then morphed into the nightmare scene, gripping stuff when watching it live!



We heard the nightmare scene start before we could see it, all the bed lights had been extinguished and the stadium was in near darkness. The music built up, powerful and loud and the scary figures started to rise. What you couldn’t see when the opening ceremony was shown on the TV was that there are 4 huge scary figures, all moving around the stadium. There was so much going on, a feast for the ears and the eyes, again all brilliantly choreographed with all the volunteers bringing the show to life. And we lapped it up, still mute, still not moving.
The emotions remained high as the scene changed and we saw people flying into the stadium, the Mary Poppins scene, again, the view from our seats was awesome and again what you didn’t see from the later TV footage was the view from above, all their umbrellas were lit up and they looked fantastic. It brought a lump to my throat, the whole thing, by now if I had been speaking, I would have been a gibbering wreck, emotionally drained.


Not moving or taking our eyes off the events unfolding before us, we were there, some of about 100 people lucky enough to be sitting in prime seats, watching a full dress rehearsal of the London 2012 Opening ceremony. Just us, and Danny Boyle of course!

It was starting to get late, and although we were mesmerised by what we were seeing, we were getting tired and nervous about where we were sitting and cold too. Yes it was summer, but we had all left our jackets in the office, remember we started work in the afternoon, so we weren’t really prepared to sit outside all night. Disappointingly it was soon time to make our way to the office to pick up our stuff and as we made our way through the corridors we could still hear the sounds of the ceremony , I think they were repeating a section, but couldn’t be sure.

A happy and dejected bunch (not sure what we were missing) we made our way out of the stadium and Olympic park and we all agreed that we had witnessed something that we would remember forever, something that we would never want to forget.

But of course we couldn’t take any pictures, we were clear on that, or mention what we had seen on the night, it was almost impossible to to put into words what we had seen anyway. Although I couldn’t say anything about it, I urged everyone I knew to watch it when it came on the TV, if it was half as good on the TV as it was live, it would be awesome.

That was day two. Day one had been a fantastic experience, walking around the stadium, being outside, seeing the warm up track, but day two had been immense. It couldn’t get any better than this, could it?

To be continued….