Over the course of its journey, the Flame will visit a total of 73 communities in the region including Ledbury, Tamworth and Dudley as well as Coventry where the Olympic and Paralympic Torches were manufactured.
Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, said:
“The Olympic Torch relay is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the West Midlands and shine a light on the local people, places and businesses that are helping to make the Games happen.
“We have a wealth of history, culture and attractions in the area as well as stunning countryside and iconic landmarks. This is a chance to celebrate our communities and I’m sure locals and tourists will turn out in their thousands to welcome the Flame.”
“Four local companies have contributed to the manufacture of the 8,000 Olympic torches used for the relay and businesses across the West Midlands have won over £529 million worth of tenders supplying the 2012 Games and related projects.
“The West Midlands are also hosting a wide range of cultural events to help mark the Torch relay and there’s never been a better time to showcase to the world what we have to offer.”
Whilst in the region the Olympic Torch will also visit the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, as well as travel on a Canal Boat and a Tram at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley.
20 year old Sophie Flanagan from Telford will carry the Flame through Dudley.
Sophie was chosen to carry the Flame in recognition of the volunteering work she has done in her local area such as helping to teach local disabled children to swim and netball coaching at local Primary schools, as well spending time in Kenya teaching sport in a rural school.
“I’m very excited to be carrying the Olympic Flame through Dudley. The Olympic Torch Relay is a once in a lifetime event and I feel very proud to have the opportunity to take part. I hope I’m a good example of the contribution young people make to our communities and that maybe l’ll inspire others to volunteer in their local area.”
The West Midlands has a key role in helping to prepare for the Games.
Businesses across the West Midlands having won over £529 million worth of tenders supplying the 2012 Games and related projects. These contracts include high profile products and services such as souvenir merchandise (Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton who are official licensee for ceramics and crystal ware and Jan Constantine who are producing the home textile range) and production of the Olympic and Paralympic Torches.
Golden Bear Products in Telford is supplying the official Games mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville.
Four companies based in the West Midlands are helping to produce the Olympic and Paralympic Torches:
1. Bullfinch Gas Equipment in Tyseley, Birmingham – producing the gas burners.
2. Premier Group, Coventry – manufacturing the 11,000 Torches for both the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays.
3. Alucast, Walsall – awarded contract to manufacture the top and bottom caps, which hold in place the outer and inner sections of the Torches.
4. Thomas Fattorini, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham – Family-owned firm making the embossed badges with the London 2012 logo, to appear on the Torches.
The Ricoh Arena, the Home of Coventry City Football Club, has been selected as the Midlands venue to host Olympic Football matches in 2012. The venue will be temporarily re-named the City of Coventry Stadium. The stadium will host 12 games including Japan (Women’s World Champions) Vs Canada (W) and Mexico Vs Gabon, a Women’s Quarter Final and the Women’s Bronze Medal match. This equates to 14 Olympic Football teams that are now confirmed to compete at the City of Coventry Stadium most of which will also train at the University of Warwick. So far ticket sales are some of the strongest of all the football venues.
The West Midlands is hosting Olympic teams from 7 nations for Pre Games Training Camps:
- USA Track and Field with Birmingham City Council.
- Jamaica Track and Field with Birmingham City Council.
- Dominica Boxing Team have signed up to use Wolverhampton Amateur Boxing Club for their boxers to train ahead of the Games.
- Pakistan Hockey team will prepare for the Olympic Games at Cannock Hockey Club in Staffordshire.
- Australia Judo team will train at the University of Wolverhampton (Walsall Campus).
- Bhutan (Archery, Boxing and Taekwondo) will base themselves at the University of Warwick in Coventry ahead of Games Time.
- The University of Warwick will also host two Paralympic athletes from Ghana.
- In addition, the 14 Olympic Football teams that are now confirmed to compete at the City of Coventry Stadium will also train at the University of Warwick.
Over 1 million people have already participated in a range of cultural activities as part of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands generating £2.4 million worth of net economic impact.
Creative leaders from the West Midlands are playing a key part in the London 2012 Festival and also the Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing ceremonies. In addition to the works of Shakespeare inspiring the Olympic Opening Ceremony, the Creative Director of Motionhouse in Leamington Spa, Kevin Finnan, is choreographing the Paralympic Opening Ceremony and Birmingham-based choreographer Dennie Wilson has been appointed as Victories Ceremonies Producer for Athletics (Games Time) for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
232 projects and events in the West Midlands have been recognised by the Inspire programme. Of these 90 are culture, 148 are legacy which encompasses sport (87), education (31), volunteering (12), business (5) and sustainability (7). The West Midlands has the 6th highest number of Inspire projects across all nations and regions.
Over 185,000 people have engaged in Dancing for the Games since its launch in 2009. 28 projects from across the region have so far been commissioned through Dancing for the Games, many of which have been awarded the Inspire mark. Through the Dancing for the Games programme the region is working to make the West Midlands the region for dance in the run up to London 2012, using the power of the Games to engage with people from across the region. Dancing for the Games is funded by Legacy Trust UK, Arts Council England and Advantage West Midlands.
The West Midlands is the home of national Cultural Olympiad projects such as the World Shakespeare Festival and Film Nation Shorts.
More than 24,000 schools and colleges have registered on the Get Set Network education programme across the UK. In the West Midlands 2,243 schools (83%) have now registered with the Get Set Education programme. The programme is reaching over 80% of students in the region with 57% of schools in the region being members of the Get Set Network. The West Midlands has the 6th highest number of schools registered on the Network across all nations and regions.