A FLURRY of colour, music and excited children got the Saddleworth Village Olympics off to a flying start in its 34thyear.
Hundreds of youngsters, their families and supporters flocked to the official opening ceremony at Saddleworth School on September 7 to kick-start three weeks of games.
The seven village teams and their mascots brought a bright array of banners, flags, ribbons and t-shirts to the event.
They were part of an eye-catching parade led by Delph Youth Band, with conductor Matt Stimpson, and Saddleworth Storm cheerleaders.
For the first time, there was the coming together of the seven Olympic Ringswhile a blaze of colour filled the air.
Phoebe Mitchell, from Greenfield, read the oath on behalf of all competitors before Andrew Rothwell, chairman of Saddleworth Round Table, formally opened the Olympics.
Adrian Green, chairman of the Saddleworth Village Olympics, said: “I don’t think in all 34 years that we’ve ever had a more spectacular opening ceremony.
“Thank you to the competitors, the mums and dads, grandparents and carers, who make this a truly wonderful community event.”
He also thanked participants and organisers as well as clubs and organisations who help in various ways.
Adrian added: “This year we sought financial backing via our ‘proud sponsor’ initiative so I thank them for their generous support.”
The main sponsor Saddleworth Round Table has donated £3,000 to the event as well as other help and support.
About 1,000 children aged seven to 16 are expected to compete across the three weeks in 18 disciplines, ranging from the traditional cricket, football, rugby and athletics to more modern dodgeball and basketball.
Children will pit themselves against their friends and neighbours to win points for their village or their school’s village.
The village(s) with the highest points will claim victory in each discipline and there will be one overall winning village in both the junior and senior categories.
For more information about the Saddleworth Village Olympics and to get involved, visit their website: www.saddleworthvillageolympics.co.uk