Bridlington’s Olympic trio get ready for London 2012

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WHEN THE Olympic Games begin tomorrow – bringing together people from all over the world – keep your eye out for three familiar faces.

While most of the attention from those watching the games at home will be on Britain’s medal hopefuls, three Bridlington residents will be helping out at the games in a host of different ways.

Sarah Longley, Jonathan Copsey and Bridlington GP Dr Toby Wallace will all be playing their part at London 2012.

After 15,000 people lined the streets of Bridlington to warmly welcome the Olympic Torch relay in June, all eyes will now be on tomorrow’s opening ceremony, which is set to showcase the ‘Best of British’ – and will also feature Flamborough dancer Sarah Longley.

Earlier in the year the Free Press ran an appeal to help Sarah, of Bempton Lane, raise money for travel expenses to London to train for the event – and even donated £150 from our Free Press 150 fund to help her realise her dream.

Now after numerous gruelling training sessions, Sarah says she cannot wait for the ceremony to begin.

“I’ve been excited since I was first asked to take part in the opening ceremony, but after my first dress rehearsal (on Monday evening) it feels so much more real. I can’t wait for it to begin,” said former Headlands School pupil Sarah, who must remain tight-lipped about what viewers can expect from the ceremony.

“The training has been excellent, a lot of fun, but going out into the Olympic Stadium with the lights and the costume was something else. Although it was quite tiring!”

Sarah’s parents were set to attend the final dress rehearsal on Wednesday evening to watch Sarah, but will have to make do with spots on the sofa for Friday’s big kick off.

“I will have to watch it all back on television after I’ve finished and see if I can spot myself.

“Being able to take part in the Olympics is the opportunity of a lifetime and I would like to thanks everyone who helped me to get down to London and represent the area.”

Another Brid kid taking part in the games is yachtsman Jonathan Copsey.

Jonathan, 29, is classed as a ‘Games maker’ and will drive a safety boat, as well as providing onshore support, for the Olympic sailing events in Weymouth from July 27 to August 11.

He said: “It was an honour to be chosen to assist with the sailing events.

“My job takes me all over the world but being part of the Olympics is something special and it is something you can tell the kids and grandkids about.”

Jonathan, whose dad John Copsey is a Bridlington Town Councillor, has been sailing since the age of nine, starting at the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club in Bridlington.

“It is once in a lifetime experience. I’m really looking forward to being a part of things and also meeting a few of the competitors, especially Ben Ainslie, who is probably one of the best in the world,” he said.

And athletes needing medical attention will be in safe hands with Bridlington GP Dr Toby Wallace standing by.

Dr Wallace, 39, who joined the Field House Surgery in Victoria Road just three weeks ago, has been selected to be a London Olympics 2012 field of play medic.

He will be dealing with acutely injured athletes competing in the canoe slalom at Lee Valley White Water Centre and mountain bikers at Hadleigh Farm, in Essex.

Dr Wallace, who played rugby while at medical school, believes it was his specialist interest in musculoskeletal medicine and experience of dealing with sports injuries that helped him secure a place on the team.

His expertise in this field has also helped secure the role of club doctor to Hull Rugby Union.

Two weeks ago Dr Wallace visited the Olympic venues to undergo training ahead of the actual events, which get underway this weekend.

“It was exciting to see the venue for the first time,” said Dr Wallace, who found out he had been successful in the selection process a year ago.

And he is particularly pleased to be getting involved in the mountain biking events, in light of his general interest in cycling.

“I’m looking forward to the Olympics, I’ve always followed it and I’m pleased to be involved in the mountain biking because I like cycling generally,” he added.

l Anyone in the Olympic mood tomorrow can go and see the Bridlington Priory bell ringers and hand bell ringers, joined by deputy mayor Terry Dixon and town crier David Hinde, marking the opening of the 2012 games as part of the national ‘All the Bells’ ringing celebration at Church Green.

The sound of English bells will announce the start of the Olympics throughout the country and will be heard around the Priory in Bridlington.

The ceremony will begin at around 8am, with the ringing to commence at 8.12am.

All are invited along to watch the display, with the Bull and Sun Inn at Bayle Gate open from 8am to offer a ‘Ringers Olympic Breakfast’.