Havering College principal was medieval peasant in Olympic opening ceremony

11:45 31 July 2012

Noel Otley, right, with Games chairman Sebastian Coe. The former Havering College headteacher played a peasant in the Green and Pleasant Land sequence of the ceremony.

Noel Otley, right, with Games chairman Sebastian Coe. The former Havering College headteacher played a peasant in the Green and Pleasant Land sequence of the ceremony.

Archant

Noel Otley, 61, from Brentwood, played a medieval peasant in the sequence of the Olympic opening ceremony entitled “Green and Pleasant Land”, the very first scene of the show.

In August Mr Otley will step down as principal of Havering College of Further and Higher Education, based in Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch, after leading the school for 13 years.

He said: “I did the whole thing because I thought it would be good fun and exciting. I was really pleased. Right from the early days of the auditions people like Danny Boyle were there and involved. I was really thrilled when I got called for the auditions.

“I didn’t tell anybody about it - I just kept it quiet. I don’t know why.

“When we moved into doing rehearsals in the stadium it was fantastic. It is a big stadium but it really feels quite cosy. It felt nice to be in there.

“It really was a thrill. We had two dress rehearsals earlier in the week in front of an audience so we could feel what it was like in front of a live audience. What was really interesting was that you got the buzz from the audience when they laughed or cheered and it all just added to the excitement.

“I have not done anything like this before and not in front of such an audience. I don’t know why but I didn’t feel frightened or nervy. I suppose it was because we practised it so much and there was so many of us. It felt thrilling as opposed to scary.

“I have met fantastic people along the way. It is a kind of opportunity you won’t get again but a kind of thing that is there for posterity. You can talk to your grandkids about it.

“It was a one off chance to perform an event that is seen by billions of people around the world.”

For a full round-up of those from Havering who performed in the spectacular ceremony see this Friday’s Recorder.

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 18:17
The Shomrim Patrol member found this chilling graffiti in Upper Clapton [Photo by @ShomrimOfficial]

Police are investigating after two swastikas were found daubed on a wall in Hackney.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:07
Is this the ugliest new building in Britain, never mind London? [Photo by George Rex under a Creative Commons license]

You might have heard of the Stirling Prize for beautiful buildings – now get ready for the Carbuncle Cup, honouring the ugliest new building of the year!

Read more
Yesterday, 16:59
Julie Sillitoe

A taxi driver crushed to death by falling masonry only went out to work in “horrendous” weather to pay for her beloved husband’s birthday present.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Amy Winehouse's second album became a classic

Are you an Amy Winehouse superfan?

Read more
I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more