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 from SNAP.PA

The billionaire businessman is joining his team in the Mojave desert.

Read more

Raising money and awareness for charity is one thing. But remember, a moustachioed gentleman should never look daft…

Read more

Celebrate Movember with 30 famous Moes – one for each day of the moustachioed month!

Read more

Promotions

BT Home Smart Cam

When I was first told by my boss that I would be doing a review on the BT Smart Cam 100 I didn’t quite know what to expect. Before even looking at the product I was picturing it as nothing more than a web cam with a fancy name.

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

The billionaire businessman is joining his team in the Mojave desert.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

Quirky London