Stoke-on-Trent Chosen to Host Olympic Torch

Interest in the London 2012 Olympic games was ignited this morning by the announcement that Stoke-on-Trent is to be one of the 66 chosen to host the Olympic Torch.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has said that it is thrilled and honoured to confirm it has the privilege to host an Evening Celebration event as part of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay on 30th May 2012.

This amazing evening event to welcome the Olympic Flame is the ideal opportunity for the city to shine on the national and international stage, to demonstrate what is special and unique about Stoke-on-Trent. We are a creative city and our celebrations to welcome the Flame will reflect this. The council will work with all; communities, schools, businesses and visitors in our city to showcase our strong heritage in the most spectacular evening event ever in living memory.

The evening events will offer thousands of people the opportunity to come together and get involved in celebrations and share in the Olympic spirit. As part of the events, London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the Presenting Partners, Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung, will stage exciting entertainment shows where a cauldron will be lit from the Olympic Flame, marking the end of the day’s proceedings.

The Olympic Flame will arrive in the UK from Greece on Friday 18 May 2012 and the 70 day Torch Relay will start at Land’s End, Cornwall on the morning of the 19 May 2012. On leaving Land’s End, the Olympic Flame is expected to travel an estimated 8,000 miles across the UK, giving thousands of communities and individuals their moment to shine as the Olympic Flame comes to their doorstep. The Olympic Flame will arrive at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July 2012 for the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, signifying the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Council leader Mohammed Pervez confirmed that LOCOG will meet the majority of the cost of staging the event. The City Council’s contribution will be the event management, traffic management and crowd safety.

The London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer nomination programme launches today at 11am. Together with the three Presenting Partners ““ Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung, LOCOG is seeking 8,000 of the most inspirational people to have their moment to shine next summer by carrying the Olympic Flame. Full details of the LOCOG Torchbearer programme and how to nominate potential Torchbearers will be released from 11am today.

Earlier this morning we recorded this audio interview with Council Leader Mohammed Pervez. [LISTEN BELOW]

Quick Step To Longton For Free Dance Classes

Residents are being encouraged to grab a dance partner and learn some new moves as Stoke-on-Trent becomes strictly ballroom, as part of the London 2012 inspired World of Dance project.

Learn to Ballroom Dance aims to give local people the chance to take part in a series of free ballroom dance classes. The sessions will run every Monday afternoon from February 7 to March 28, 2011 at 12pm until 1pm at Longton Town Hall.

The project is funded by the Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games, Arts Council England West Midlands and Advantage West Midlands.

“Today there is a huge number of TV shows dedicated to all different styles of dance and we are thrilled to be able to offer free ballroom dance workshops so that local people can get a flavour of the dancing. I urge as many people as possible to come forward and give the classes a go.”

So far, nearly 3,000 residents in Stoke-on-Trent have taken part in dance classes in the city as part of the World of Dance project, trying a range of styles including Bhangra, Ballroom, Hip Hop and Belly Dancing.

To book one of the 70 free places register your details with Vanessa Darlington by calling 01782 236156 or email Event organisers and community groups who would like to find out more about the World of Dance project or arrange a free dance workshop where they live can also call Vanessa to arrange a session.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Worker Heading To The Olympics

Stoke-on-Trent City Council worker Rod Stockwell will be heading for London in two years time, to volunteer at the Olympic Games.

Rod currently works for the city council’s Northern Area Implementation Team, working with residents to improve their area. Rod though, has another side to him.

I first took up volleyball as a player more than 30 years ago, trying a new sport introduced to school by my PE teacher,” said Rod. “My school team, Marshlands dominated schools volleyball for about 8 years winning most of the junior competitions at the time, with many players representing England at cadet and junior level, and the school representing England at 2 international tournaments.

Rod’s task while at the Games will be to be part of the statistics team which will be providing the player statistics that will appear on the Olympic website for volleyball. These are skills he has learned while coaching at Newcastle Volleyball Club since 1980, in which time he has been a player, referee, volunteer, committee member and coach, and is currently coaching the men’s 2nd team in the National League.

As well as coaching for my club, I have been involved in producing the official statistics for some international matches and some junior tournaments. These statistics are then used by coaches to develop tactics and improve skills of their players.

This has developed over the years, and I now regularly provide statistics for Great Britain Men’s and Women’s home matches.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Rod and he should grasp it with both hands. It doesn’t matter how you contribute to the Olympics, it’s something that requires an immense amount of talent and dedication whether you are a competitor or an official. He is representing Stoke-on-Trent at the Olympic Games. There aren’t many bigger honours than this and the whole city should be proud of him.

Volunteering For The 2012 Olympics

From this morning people who are interested in volunteering to help at the 2012 Olympics can register on-line.

The 2012 organisers are looking to general & specialist volunteers across many roles during the games. Use the link below to have a look at the roles and what you could offer. This is a once in a lifetime event that you could be part of.

Stoke-on-Trent Opens Up For London 2012 Open Weekend

Four events, including a torchlight night, at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery form part of London’s 2012 Open Weekend (23 ““ 25 July 2010).

The events in the city are part of a series of activities across the country which will take place to celebrate the final two years until the London 2012 Olympic Games and to provide access to excellence in the arts, culture and sport.

London 2012 Open Weekend enables everyone to share in the excitement of the Games, be inspired, get involved, unleash creativity and challenge themselves to try something new. In Stoke-on-Trent visitors can challenge themselves to:

* Explore the Staffordshire Hoard by torchlight. Join staff at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery on Friday 23 July at 7pm until 8.30pm. Visitors will also experience traditional Saxon storytelling and riddling and have the opportunity to discuss the latest theories about the Hoard. The all ticket event costs £5 and includes a glass of wine or soft drink. Please book in advance as places are limited telephone 01782 232323.

* Walk get fit and have fun. The walk organised by the Federation of Stadium Communities takes place on Friday 23 July. Walkers should meet at 1pm outside Burslem Park Pavilion, Moorland Road. The activity is free.

* “ËœGo for Gold’ by trying your hands at the new children’s trail on the theme of gold at the Potteries Museum & Art Galley. Throughout the weekend of 24 and 25 July youngsters can also meet a Saxon and on Saturday listen to storytelling. These activities are free.

* Discover and identify a variety of plants and animals on a Wildflower Meadow Safari at Park Hall Country Park. This fun family activity will introduce adventurers to some of the wildlife that can be found in and around the beautiful wildflower meadows at Park Hall. Meet at Park Hall Country Visitor Centre, off Hulme Road, Weston Coyney at 1.30pm. The event will last approximately two hours. To book your place on this free activity call the visitor centre on 01782 331889.

The Open Weekend, supported by BP, is an annual UK wide celebration counting down to the start of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It will include hundreds of events across the UK from sport to art, dance to exhibitions. Each event features a special challenge.

Councillor Hazel Lyth Cabinet member for Sport said:

“London 2012’s Open Weekend is a brilliant initiative which gives people in Stoke-on-Trent the chance to take part in the London 2012 experience right here where they live. It also provides an opportunity to do something new as we mark the two year countdown to the beginning of the Games in 2012. There are lots of engaging events across Staffordshire already signed up for Open Weekend but there will be even more by the time the weekend arrives ““ something for everyone to join in with.”

All London 2012 Open Weekend events taking place in North Staffordshire are listed. Residents can join the celebrations across the region and plan their weekend at

Dance Tickets Snapped Up In A Week For Stoke-on-Trent Event

Overwhelming support for a dance to mark the two year countdown to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games has proven so popular all 250 tickets have been snapped up in just one week.

The ballroom and sequence dance will take place on Thursday 22 July. The popularity of the dance highlights the reach of the city council’s “ËœWorld of Dance’ project that has seen 831 dancers aged between two and 92 join in a variety of dance activities for all ages and abilities.

Responding to demand, Programme Manager Vanessa Darlington has “Ëœquick stepped’ to arrange a series of eight free “ËœLearn to Ballroom Dance’ classes for complete beginners who wanted to come to the dance. The sessions will run every Thursday evening from the 26 August to 14 October at 6pm until 7.15pm at the Kings Hall in Stoke. If you would like to take up one of the 100 places please register your details with Vanessa by calling 01782 236156.

Over the last year in Stoke, residents have been encouraged to try out a range of dance styles ranging from Bhangra, Ballroom, Hip Hop and Belly Dancing. World of Dance has been awarded the Inspire Mark which recognizes innovative and exceptional projects directly inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The project is funded by the Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games, Arts Council England West Midlands and Advantage West Midlands.

Event organisers and community groups who would like to arrange a free dance workshop or meet Bhangra Bunny should call Vanessa Darlington on 01782 236156 to arrange a session.

Disappointed dancers unable to get tickets to the event can still experience dancing on what is reputedly the second best dance floor in the country by attending one of the regular Ballroom and Sequence dances that take place in the Kings Hall most Thursdays 8 -11.30pm with doors opening at 7.30pm. Admission is £4 per person and refreshments are available. To find out more including the resident musician please call 01782 232631.