Ollie in Oz

Image

I had an amazing trip all the way to Australia with White Fang and her family. It was a very long way on the aeroplane.

Here I am at Cape Byron – you can’t go any further east in Australia without getting very wet! There were lots of steps to climb but the view from the top was incredible.

Most easterly point of Australian mainland

Ollie at Cape Byron

And this is me meeting a kangaroo

Photo 6

Centenary Launch

Image

great wallOtter is writing this on my behalf as I’m currently in Nepal having an adventure with a Cub Leader from the 29th.  (I’ll blog as soon as I get back in December).  But she has told me all about what is planned for the Centenary Year and I am so excited.  1st Bournville, 100th Birmingham Scout Group is 100 years old in 2013 and the leaders have been busy planning lots of exciting activities for the group members and the community.  At the launch on Saturday 10th November, the leaders got the young people up to read surprises out of envelopes and everyone was excited.  I’m going to have a very busy year next year, the Beavers are doing so much, including Legoland in April, (Otter is so excited as she has never been before), a family camp, Gilwell Fun Day in June and also a community event for local neighbours to show that little people can do important things too.

Cubs are off to Cubjam, a week long camp at Gilwell, (the head quarters oft the Scout Association).  Kip on a ship, which is sleeping on HMS Belfast in London and other camps.  Scouts and Explorers are going on an international camp to Germany, that got the biggest cheer of the night.  Otter, Capybara and Platypus are now organising who is going on which trips so that I can come too.  I thought 2012 was excellent with all the London 2012 and going to China and Nepal, but I think 2013 is going to be even better.

The Great Birmingham Run

Image


On the 21st of October there was a half marathon in Birmingham that would be passing through Bournville really close to our Scout hut.  Capybara and Platypus the assistant Beaver leaders were running in the race to help to raise lots of money for the Scout hut which needs lots of new things like hot water, electrics and doors. Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Leaders from the group lined the road in Bournville to cheer on Capybara and Platypus.  There were so many runners, some of them wore costumes, including many super heroes and one man even walked the whole half marathon backwards and lots of them were running to raise money for good causes like the Birmingham Children’s Hospital and St Mary’s Hospice.

After we had cheered them on in Bournville Otter took me to the finish line of the race in the city centre so we could see them finish!  Capybara and Platypus sprinted across the finish line together and we were really proud of them for running 13.1miles in 2 hours 30 minutes and 52 seconds.  It was their first half marathon and they had trained really hard. 

Ollie and London 2012

I have been so lucky to go to the Olympics, Paralympics, hold the torches and visit the Gold Post boxes with Otter.  I held the torch outside of St Paul’s Cathedral to take part in a world record to get 8,000 people to hold one torch raising money for the Children of the Andes charity.  I held the torch at the Scout Hut too.  Over the summer I visited over 70 Wenlocks and Mandevilles around London following the Mayor of London Walks, made new friends with other scout members across the country.   Otter took me to see Charlotte Du Jardin’s Gold Post Box in Newent, Victoria Pembletons in Stotfold and Nick Skelton’s in Alcester.  I also earnt my Sporting Adventure badge and necker for helping the beavers achieve 3000 points and come 35th in the national competition. I’ll always remember London 2012, it was such an exciting Olympic summer, but did not stop there as Platypus took me on her Olympic adventure too.

Ollie at the Paralympics

Very very early on Saturday 1st September, Otter and I got ready to catch a train to London to see the Paralympics.  We went with Otter’s friends, Josh aged 6 a Beaver from Lincolnshire and Ryan aged 9 a Cub.  It was very early when we got to the train station, but there were lots of people already there with their flags.  Otter checked the tickets, (she does that a lot) and the train came.  It was very busy and suddenly Josh realised he had left his bag on the platform but the train was already moving.  Luckily Otter still had her bag with the tickets, but Josh had left our breakfasts.   Everyone was really excited about going to the Paralympics and the passengers on the train shared their breakfast with us all.  Remember you should never speak to strangers unless a grown up you are with says it was ok.  The people who shared their breakfast with us were Cubs and Scouts in Peterborough.

We got to Kings Cross and followed the signs to the Javelin train, there were lots and lots of Games Makers and they were so helpful.  There were 1000s of people walking in the same direction so it was not easy to get lost.  We then caught the train, were Otter and I spoke to a Scout Leader from Newcastle and a Beaver leader from Nottingham.  They said they wished they’d brought their group mascots too and thought I had great adventures.  We then got to Stratford International Train Station, Otter used to come here years ago, and could not believe the changes.  New shops and new cafes, Otter said she would have to come back and explore.  There were lots and lots of Games Makers and they all high fived us all again.

Suddenly we got to the Olympic Park, WOW!  I was very excited.  Otter and the boys were too.  We forgot that we had a bottle of water in our bags and were stopped by security.  The Army man recognised Otter, she had gone to school with his brother, small small world.  Thousands and thousands of people and Otter meets someone she has not seen for 20 years.  We walked through the gates and stopped with awe.  A Games Maker took a photo of us all in front of the stadium and then we went and explored.  We found the Aquatic Centre, the Water Polo Centre, the Orbit and lots more and then went in to explore the stadium.  Our seats were nearly at the top, but the view was amazing.  We could see the Olympic Cauldron and feel the heat from it when the wind blew in our direction.

Slowly the stadium filled up, Josh and Ryan had brought their Mandevilles with them and Otter bought a gold Wenlock.  She said it was her treat as she knew someone from Team GB would win a gold today.  Sitting next to us was a group of Brownies and Guides from Hounslow, they had lots of photos taken with me and then the Athletics started.  I sat on Otter’s lap with the flag and the Paralympic Mascots and she kept lifting me up so I could see.  We were all so excited and the atmosphere cannot be described.

We watched blind long jump, wheel chair racing heats, blind discuss where Clare Williams won Bronze, lots of blind running with and without guides, women’s club, a bronze for Gemma Prescott and men’s shotput, bronze for Robin Womack.  Team GB did really well.  It was very interesting listening to the rules and classifications and we all learnt a lot.  But then it got really exciting, Richard Whitehead raced in the T42 200m finals and he won a Gold!  He built up his speed and overtook everyone, we screamed, we shouted, we cheered and jumped up and down when he crossed the finish line.  Otter almost lost her voice.  Then everyone hugged everyone and there was lots of Mexican Waves.  Otter held me up really high and I could see Richard running around the track with the Union Flag on his shoulders.   He looked so proud and we were too.  We all waved our flags and shouted and cheered.

Not everyone wins a medal at the Olympics or Paralympics, but every athlete who attends is a winner in their own right.  They are their fullfilling their dreams and representing their country and it is the highest achievement to take part in the games.  Omar Hassan had the true spirit, representing his country in the 1500m he completed his race nearly 8 minutes behind his closest rival.  He had the biggest cheer and standing ovation and for over 7 minutes we all yelled and cheered him on to the finish line.  I wonder if Omar was a scout, as a scout tries their best and does not give up.

And then it was the medal ceremony for Richard Whitehead, we had already watched 4 medal ceremonies, but this was so different.  Everyone was buzzing and straining to get a look.  When Richard came out, it was deafening.  He was right the other side of the stadium, but Otter held me up so I could watch, Josh and Ryan waved their flags and everyone cheered when he stood on the podium.  The clapping and cheering went on for ages and ages and then silence fell for the National Anthem.  As the flags went up, we all sang God Save the Queen at the top of our voices.  Otter and the Brownie Leaders had tears in their eyes and when I looked around lots of grown ups were wiping away tears as they were so so proud of Team GB.

Then there were some more wheelchair heats and a final medal ceremony.  We waited for it to start and then it was announced that one of the medalists had forgot to turn up.  The crowd laughed lots and then slowly everyone started to leave.  Otter helped us to cross over to the Cauldron so that we could get our photo taken with it.  The smell and the heat was amazing.  The Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people and it was completely full, we were amazed at how quickly it emptied.  The Games Makers did a really good job.

Soon we were out in the Olympic Park, where we went and had our photo taken at BP to show we had offset our carbon footprint to get to the stadium.  And then suddenly we bumped into Tracy whose son had been in Beavers and now in Cubs at Bournville.  Small small world!  Around 400,000 people at the Olympic park and Otter bumped into 2 people she knew.  We then explored the Olympic Park, finding the Royal Barge, having lunch at Macdonalds, looking at the different venues and watching the street acts.  Everyone was so happy and friendly and it was lots of fun at the park that we changed our plans for the afternoon.

Eventually it was time to head back into London as we wanted to do another walk to find the mascots.  We headed back to Tower Bridge to see the Paralympic symbols hanging from the bridge and I had my photograph taken with more mascots.  After London 2012 finishes the mascots are being sold to raise money for more young people to take part in athletics.  Otter said she wished she was rich as it would be lovely to have one outside of the Scout Hut.  We all laughed as she could not decide which one she wanted.

Then it was time to head back home.  Otter took us for a walk along the Thames and showed us some of the war memorials including the Battle Of Britain Memorial and the Camel Corps.  Otter knows a lot about the war memorials and where there are lots more and will take us back another day as Ryan and Josh wanted to learn more too.  As we headed back to the train station we heard of lots more medals Team GB had won and again everyone in London was happy and excited.  Luckily when we got back to the train station Josh’s bag had been found and we ate the breakfast that was still in the bag.  I am so lucky to have been to the Olympics and Paralympics and be part of London 2012.  I wonder if Otter will take me to Rio 2016?

Ollie at the Olympics

 

On the 4th August 2012, Otter and I were lucky enough to have tickets to see the Women’s Epee Final at Excel in London. Otter was so worried about losing the tickets that she checked the bag lots of times on the train. Checking the date and the time was correct, checking that we had the correct ID and could get to Excel in time. When we got to London, the atmosphere was electric, Otter goes to London at lot and never felt the atmosphere like this before. It really felt great to be part of something so unique and so exciting.

As we got to London so early we thought we’d go and explore London and see some of the Olympic sites.  We got as close as we could to Horse Guards Parade and listened to the Beach Volley Ball cheers, and saw the Lithuanian and Spanish team buses.  Old London buses painted in country team colours.  We then walked to Hyde Park, along the Triathalon route and watched the men testing the route.  I was so excited, looking for the Brownlee Brothers, I fell off the fence and had to be rescued by a race official before I got run over by a New Zealander.  The race official was very nice and did not tell me off.  He said we had to listen out for the whistle as that would mean that more triathletes were coming, so they could close the road to stop people crossing over, this would be the best time to take photos.  We watched for a long time, but didnt see the Brownlee brothers.  (They did really well getting Gold and Bronze in the actual event).

We then walked up to the free screens in Hyde Park, we saw lots of Gamemakers and people waving Union Flags.  The queues for the big screens were very very long and we could not get in.  Otter was a bit cross as she thought the whole park should have been opened with large screens, not just a small part.  So we went for a walk looking for the Wenlock and Mandeville mascots instead.  The Mayor of London had created some fun walks around London, with the mascots near to famous London monuments.  I had my photo taken with all we could find and there were lots by Tower Bridge.  It was amazing to see the Olympic Rings hanging from Tower Bridge.  At Trafalgar Square we saw the Paralympic Countdown clock, Otter and I got all excited as we are going on 1st September.

After seeing the sights, we headed with 1000′s of people to Excel to go and see the Fencing.  It was the first time I had been on the Docklands Light Railway.  This is a strange train that has no driver, it was very busy, but Otter held me up at the window so I could see the Dome/O2 Arena where the Basket Ball was being held.  We then had the long walk to Excel.  It was so exciting walking passed all the Games Makers, they high fived me, and every single volunteer looked so happy.  Volunteers are so important to our group, as they make Beavers and the other sections so much fun.  Finally after all the security checks we were in the Excel Arena!

We walked around to see what was going on, at the same time as the fencing, there was boxing, greco wrestling and table tennis, but we could only go and see the fencing.  In the fencing hall Otter was very excited as there were large screens showing Sir Chris Hoy in the Veledrome pursuit and Andy Murray at Wimbledon.  Then it was time to go in to watch the fencing, (but first Otter spotted the Olympic torch and went to hold it, but she forgot to take me as she was soooooo excited to see it).

The fencing arena was covered in flags from all the people competing.  Our seats were good, we had Chinese fans sat behind us who really enjoyed the matches and in front was a lady and cub from Hampshire who had their photo taken with me.  Then the matches started.  The atmosphere was electric.  First was America and Russian in the bronze medal match.  Otter had read up on the rules and could explain what was going on.  It got very tight at times, with only one point in it, but then America started to take the lead.  Sometimes it was so fast and exciting people stood up.  The floor lit up when the epee (sword) hit and there was a lot of sportsmanship.  One of the American ladies had a sensor fall off her helmet and the Russian lady stopped help her put it back on, and then the American helped the Russian.  I wondered if they had been Scouts when they were younger as they were very helpful.  And then suddenly America won.  Everyone shouted and stamped their feet and the Americans ran round the arena hugging their coaches and people in the audience.  America had Bronze.

Then it was the Gold Medal match.  China against South Korea.  The Chinese people behind us got out their big flags and draped them over the seats and their shoulders and started shouting and cheering.  It all got exciting again.  But then South Korea cheated a little and their player got disqualified for not trying.  (I dont think she was a scout as we always do our best).  The match continued and the Chinese got louder and louder, we started cheering too and Otter held me up so I could see better and then after 44 minutes China won.  The noise was soooooooooooooooooooooooooo loud.  Everyone clapped and cheered and the Chinese ladies grabbed a flag and ran round and round and paused for photos.   Then we watched the podium being built, again the Games Makers were very busy and within minutes America, South Korea and China stood on the podium to recieve their medals.  It was all very moving and Otter held me up so I could see the flags being raised by the armed forces and the national anthem for China was played.

And then it was time to leave, we were guided by the Game Makers back to the DLR and as it was dark we could see the Orbit and the Olympic Stadium all lit up in the distance.  Suddenly everything started to get exciting as people on the DLR were listening to the radio and Super Saturday had begun.  We cheered and clapped when Greg Rutherford jumped and got gold for the Long Jump, we all screamed and cheered when we heard Jessica Ennis secured her gold and we yelled and jumped up and down when we heard Mo Farrah got Gold too.  The guard on the train added to the commentaries.  It was magical to be in London and share the excitment with everyone.  Strangers hugged each other and the journey on the DLR was an experience that Otter and I will not forget.

We quickly caught a look at the Houses of Parliament all lit up with a video playing of the previous London Olympics, found a couple more Wenlocks and Mandevilles and then headed back on a very busy train.  My day at the Olympics was over, but it is a day I will always remember.  (I think Otter had lots of fun too, as she keeps talking about it).