December 7 2013 Latest news:
by John Phillips , Senior Reporter
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Thousands of families, sport lovers and Olympic well-wishers packed into Central Park on Friday to watch the opening ceremony on giant screens.
Almost 10,000 revellers came together to watch the curtain-raiser, which included performances by pupils from four Barking and Dagenham schools.
The show, created by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, re-enacted the industrial revolution and the work of the NHS.
Families also enjoyed football, face painting and saw the Red Arrows fly over the park in Wood Lane, Dagenham, on their way to the stadium.
The free event, called Festival Central, was organised by around 20 churches and spearheaded by Nick Hughes, associate minister of Bethel Church, in Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham.
Mr Hughes, 49, said: “I loved the fact the show actually told a story rather than just representing abstract ideas. It was very British. It looked great on the big screen in the middle of the night. It was really fabulous. People stayed to the very end.”
Organisers said around 9,500 people attended the festival, which featured a myriad of activities including music, table tennis, martial arts demonstrations, dance, and food stalls.
A Dagenham reader commented on the Streetlife website: “Red Arrows flew over our house on the way to Olympic Park tonight. Good start to the Games.”