81-year-old's Olympic memories of 1948

81-year-old's Olympic memories of 1948

Francis Batt

81-year-old's Olympic memories of 1948

The Olympic preparations have stirred some powerful memories for 81-year-old Mike Lovejoy.

Mike, who lives in Ashbrook Road, Old Windsor, had quite a tale to tell when he met 12th Windsor scouts at their headquarters.

He was a scout himself when he took part in the Olympic opening ceremony at Wembley, the last time the games came to Britain 64 years ago this month.

Mike, now a grandfather-of-three, was one of a trio of scouts from his pack in Harlington to volunteer. He still does not know how it happened, except that they all fitted the requirements by being tall and older than 16.

He said: "A man appeared - I don't know if he was from the council or what - and asked for volunteers and we put our hands up.

"I was asked to hold the banner for the athletes from Malta.

"Nothing was laid on for us. We took our own sandwiches on the day, travelled up by bus, assembling in the early morning on an old roadway behind Wembley Stadium.

"We stood there for about five hours. At one point the Maltese athletes appeared and took their place. Finally a few officials appeared who looked like they knew what was happening, and we were sent into the tunnel and told to walk in a straight line when we got through.

"We went past the royal box and there I was in the middle of Wembley Stadium, standing to attention, holding my board up in front of the athletes. I was about 25 yards from the royal box so was able to see the King and Queen quite clearly."

Mike has lived in Old Windsor since 1957 with his wife Jean. He has his own Olympic torch, given to him by a friend whose father had been involved in the 1948 events, which he took to show the scouts.

He said: "I must admit I had largely forgotten it all until this year. It is amazing how it all comes back."

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