Saffron Walden’s Olympic plans begin to emerge

SAFFRON Walden will be buzzing to the beat of a carnival atmosphere this May when a once-in-a-lifetime Olympic celebrations come to town.

Greek gods, giant beads and a fascinating mixture of dance troupes and skateboard opera will join a lively procession heading towards Walden Castle.

It is all part of a wider event in which two mythical champions, Boreas Zephyr and Marina Mightier, will be touring Essex in May competing for the title of ‘Champion of the Game’.

Each champion, or giant as they have also been described, will make a marathon journey around the county collecting ‘giant beads’ in an effort to win the Glass Bead Game.

In Saffron Walden there will be a welcome ceremony for Marina Mightier on May 19 when she will arrive on a customised chariot built around an Essex icon, a Ford Cortina!

A procession made up of 120 primary and 50 secondary school children will put on dance displays, accompanied by Morris dancers from Thaxted, the Tang Ting Twinning Association, Saffron Walden skate boarders and the Grand Union Orchestra.

Olympic hopefuls Chloe Rogers and Daniel Bentley will present the great champion with a glass bead made up of a collage of photos showcasing the uniqueness of the district.

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The symbolic handover will take place at Walden Castle where there will be a range of music, arts, dance, circus skills, storytelling, tennis workshops and the opportunity to participate in building Uttlesford’s very own giant.

The other champion, Boreas Zephyr, will be given the same state welcome US President Barack Obama received when he arrives at Stansted Airport on May 31.

And the Reporter understands the BBC could be in town for a Blue Peter sports-themed special on the Common, but details have yet to be confirmed.

The Sparks Will Fly event, organised by Essex County Council and outdoor performance specialists Walk the Plank, will culminate in a spectacular evening celebration in Hylands Park on July 6 – the day before the Olympic Torch passes through the district.

Details of the Flame’s route across Uttlesford – which will pass through Saffron Walden, Stansted and Newport – will be confirmed on March 19.

UDC is on the lookout for volunteers to act as stewards for both the welcome ceremony and procession, and also for the Olympic Flame visit on July 7. Anyone interested should email Lisa Lipscombe at

They are also after photographs for the collage. To get involved, email Gaynor Bradley at with a brief explanation of why they should be included.