Wimbledon Marks London 2012

Celebrations as flame comes through SW19

Wimbledon will be in party mood when the Olympic torch runs through the town on July 23, with a series of events to mark the occasion.

These will include three afternoon picnic-type events once the torch has passed by, which will take place in Merton Abbey Mills, South Park Gardens and Ricards Lodge High School.

Merton borough council is now encouraging community groups and indviduals in those areas to come forward to work with council officers on potential ideas for the day.

Cabinet member for community and culture, Councillor Martin Whelton said: "We are proud to be a host borough for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is a unique opportunity for residents, schools and local businesses to witness the Olympic torch. I encourage all those who live and work in Merton to take part in this historic event."

Parts of SW19 will also be 'dressed' in Olympic colours by the council - mostly in the form of banners hung from lamp posts. These will be in Arthur Road, Wimbledon; the South Wimbledon crossroads near the station; the crossroads at Merantun Way in Colliers Wood; outside Colliers Wood tube.

This is in addition to LOCOG's 'dressing' of the town centre, which is the area the Olympic spectators will pass through on their way to the 2012 tennis event.

There will be many other events this summer, as part of a 'Merton Cultural Olympiad'. These include:

A primary school song writing competition, organised by Merton Music Foundation. The winning song will have a 'professional score' produced and the song will be recorded by Cherry Pie Music in Kingston Road, Wimbledon. They will also arrange for the borough primary schools to learn the song and there will be a moment in time where all sing it in their schools. There are also plans for it to sung at a Council meeting.

Merton Abbeyfest will deliver a family celebration event on August 12, with a Brazilian theme. The host borough flag will be paraded by community representatives from Morden Civic Centre to Merton Abbey Mills through Morden Hall Park and hand the flag to Brazilian representatives to make its way to a Brazilian town in readiness for their celebrations and cultural Olympiad.

An Outdoor Arts Festival - although still in its very early stages, the date is confirmed as Saturday July 21 and the venue is the Piazza in Wimbledon Town Centre. This event will celebrate performing arts including local performers and include an element of dance as part of the Big Dance Festival.

Arts opportunities for Young People - local children will be engaged at the New Wimbledon Theatre in a project with the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) which will culminate in youngsters from across the country coming together to perform in a West End theatre in the summer months during the Olympic period.

Sculpture in Wimbledon – following a lengthy commissioning, consultation and procurement process a new piece of public art is to be installed on Wimbledon station forecourt. The 'stag' is now being manufactured and will be put in place this spring in readiness for the annual tennis and Olympic tennis events. It will also mark the start of the Wimbledon Way.

A number of 'legacies' will also be left as a result of new and improved sporting and cultural facilities being inspired by London 2012. These include a climbing tower and bouldering wall at Wimbledon Park Watersports, and a beach volleyball court in Wimbledon Park.

March 19, 2012