Thousands celebrate Olympic Handover in Hackney

Five thousand Hackney residents celebrated Olympic Handover on Sunday during a six-hour free event in Shoreditch Park.

‘Hackney Handover at the Shoreditch Festival’ marked the historic moment London was handed the Olympic flag and became the official host city of the 2012 Games, with Hackney hosting one third of the Olympic Park site.

The official handover moment was shown live from Beijing on a big screen in Shoreditch Park, followed by live coverage of the pop concert in the Mall.

Following the Handover, Deputy Mayor of Hackney Cllr Jamie Carswell, and 16-year-old resident Loong Ly raised the official 2012 flag. Loong was lucky enough to go to Singapore to hear the 2012 bid announcement, and currently trains for football club trials on Hackney Marshes.

DJ Spoony, of BBC Radio Five Live - who grew up in Hackney – was on stage in Shoreditch Park, hosting live dance and entertainment, which included:

•Local urban dance group Ebonessence
•Giant flag display with Chinese dragon from Jun Mo, Hackney-based costume parading band
•Free style football skills display with Jeremy Lynch, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist
•Hula hoop performance from Hoop La La, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists who trained at Circus Space in Hoxton

Residents joined in activities in Shoreditch Park, including:
•Sprint competitions to find Hackney’s fastest man, woman and child
•Children’s play area
•Arts and crafts activities

There was also a 1948 Street Party in Hoxton Street, marking the year London last hosted the Games, which included:
•Pearly kings and queens
•Vintages stalls and table displays
•Tea parties
•Windrush Dancehall with the sounds of The Calypsonians
•The London Swing Dance Society

Lift – formerly London International Festival Theatre – unveiled its special Hackney Handover day art commission: Shoreditch Ball Park.

As a fitting finale to the day and to the Shoreditch Festival, the BBC Big Band took to the stage with the Ugly Bugs Ball – a new youth musical.

Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney, said: “I’m delighted so many residents came out to celebrate together London becoming the official host city of the 2012 Games. Hackney is at the heart of where the Games will happen and my focus is now, more than ever, firmly fixed on maximising the benefits for our residents.

“We’re now looking forward to the Paralympic Games and wish our local swimmer, Dervis Konuralp, the best of luck. We will be celebrating Paralympic Handover next month with free entertainment for everyone.”