Olympic dream for Kevin

Olympics'Kevin Makepeace who took part in the opening ceremony at the Olympics in London.'Picture by Neil Silk  123204'06/08/12
Olympics'Kevin Makepeace who took part in the opening ceremony at the Olympics in London.'Picture by Neil Silk 123204'06/08/12

A Scarborough man who played one of the Jarrow Marchers in the Olympic opening ceremony has shared the story of this amazing, one-off experience.

Kevin Makepeace, of Bland’s Cliff, replied to an email asking for volunteers last year and was stunned when he was sent an audition date.

The Scarborough Rotary Club member, 50 , said: “I told my wife I’d ticked all the boxes on the form - fire eaters, stilt walkers!

“I had no idea what to expect.”

Following auditions at Bow Brompton studios in London, Kevin was chosen to be one of the Jarrow Marchers.

Rehearsals then began, lasting 14 weeks, as thousands of volunteers learnt their steps for the huge, multi-million pound production.

Mr Makepeace said the show’s director Danny Boyle was at rehearsals every week and was very hands-on.

He added: “He was just a regular guy and would come over and have a natter.

“Every rehearsal he was there and he’d have a bit of banter with us.”

On the run-up to the big night, shows were staged for corporate sponsors on the Monday night and family and friends on the Wednesday.

Every volunteer got two tickets and Mr Makepeace’s went to his wife Carys and son David.

When it came to the real opening ceremony performance, Mr Makepeace said the buzz was amazing.

He explained: “Everyone was expecting so much. There had been signs up everywhere during rehearsals saying ‘Keep the surprise’.

“The atmosphere was just amazing. When Britain came on there was a massive surge of energy.

“You must have been able to hear the crowd from five miles away. It was awesome.”

Mr Makepeace said that thing that will stay with him is the sense of community among all the participants, who had come from far and wide to take part.

He added: “It was a real once-in-a-lifetime thing. The Olympics have been brilliant and it was so nice to be involved in something that was the start of it.”

Mr Makepeace is now back to his day job, which is running Bland’s Cliff Lodge with Carys.

He is also the new landlord of The Ox Inn in Lebberston.