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Olympic ceremony delight for drummer Martin
8:00am Saturday 18th August 2012 in News
THERE aren’t many people in the country who can say they helped open and close the London 2012 Olympic Games, but Martin Tatem can.
Mr Tatem had little time to absorb the joy of performing in the awe-inspiring opening ceremony, before he had to turn his thoughts to his role in the closing ceremony on Sunday.
The Chafford Hundred resident, who works as a senior network engineer for Orange Business Services, got involved with the Games after he received an e-mail from a London organisation called Drum Jam, appealing for volunteer drummers.
He said: “When you first read ‘London 2012 seeks volunteer performers for the greatest show on earth’ that is an opportunity you cannot refuse.
“Back in 2005, when London won the bidding process, I made a personal pact I would attend the opening ceremony with my family.
“With so many doubters that London could build Olympic standard venues, on time and on budget, it looked like getting a ticket would be simple.
“However, LOCOG did its job and provided some stunning venues and an Olympic park that London will come to enjoy for many years and tickets were very difficult to come by.
“I thought ‘if you can’t watch it, perform in it’ so I replied to the organisers.
“With very little drumming experience I thought they would show me the door.”
But Mr Tatem, 43, impressed in his audition and was told in January he was one of 250 picked to be drummers on London’s big night.
One of his highlights was being so close to the lighting of the Olympic flame.
He said: “My position was at the end of the torch lane that lead the bearers into the middle of the stadium. “I could feel the heat once they lit the petals and I felt it even more as it started to rise.
“The fireworks overhead were spectacular and the noise tremendous – looking back it feels surreal that I was there taking part.
“We ushered the athletes out of the stadium and then stayed around ourselves a little while longer taking photos, videos and generally having a good time.”
To add to memories that he says will last a lifetime, Mr Tatem was also able to take part in the closing ceremony as an athlete’s marshall.
He said: “It will be sad for it to come to an end. But the enjoyment I have had is irreplaceable.”