Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Harry in the swing at Olympic Park

Prince Harry was sent flying into the air on a swing today as he tested the new attractions at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Harry joined London Mayor Boris Johnson for a tour of the park in east London on the eve of its official opening.

The pair negotiated their way across a rope bridge alongside local school children and took part in a mobility scheme bike ride with disabled people.

The park opens to the public tomorrow for the first time since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Prince remarked that the park was "better" than he expected.

He said: "It was fantastic the way it was anyway, but the amount of money that has been spent and the creativity as well, I think it's brought it to life.

"I think the members of the public will get a chance to come here and for kids obviously they absolutely adore it, playing in the sand.

"I think they realise how lucky they are that they have had a chance to come down here before everybody else."

During the tour, Harry climbed on to a basket swing and had to hold on tight as school children pushed him as high as possible.

The Prince clearly enjoyed playing with the youngsters, and when he got off he told them: "Now I get to push you."

When Mr Johnson asked Harry what he thought of the park, he told the mayor: "I love it. I think it's absolutely amazing.

"I can't wait to see it full of people."

He added: "People will be pouring through the place. The sun will be out. (It will be the) longest summer we've ever had, I'm sure."

When Harry was asked if Prince George would visit the park in future years, he replied: "I'm sure he'll have his chance to come down here.

"You never know, the Olympics might be back here again before we know it."

On hearing that remark, Mr Johnson joked: "We'll put in for the Winter Games!"

Mr Johnson went on: "It's far more beautiful than I possibly thought it could be.

"This is going to be a quite astonishing place to come and bring your family."

He added: "We've got to be careful, some cities have had pretty bad experiences.

"But I think London is doing absolutely brilliantly and there's no question that I think most experts on Olympic legacy would say this was the best that any Olympic city has been able to do in such a short time."

The Prince and Mr Johnson, both wearing navy blue suits, met representatives from the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style championship for injured servicemen and women.

Some of the events will take place in the park in September.

The pair were then taken on a ride on mobility cycles with participants of Bikeworks, which helps people with disabilities.

Harry rode on a bike with Terry Sullivan, 29, from the Isle of Dogs, east London, who steered them perilously close to a water fountain.

He said afterwards: "I loved it. I wanted to go into the water!"

Dennis Hone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which manages the regeneration of the park, said the visit was a success.

"I think they stress-tested everything that we've got on the south plaza ready for its opening tomorrow," he said.

"They gave it a thorough test and they seemed to enjoy it."

The 376ft (114.5m) high ArcelorMittal Orbit lies at the centre of the new park and there will be future ventures with the Victoria and Albert Museum and University College London.

Visitors will also be able to view the interactive water fountains and an action-packed adventure playground.


From Belfast Telegraph