Giant bunting goes up at Norwich’s City Hall to celebrate Olympic Torch visit

PUBLISHED: 06:30 30 June 2012

Volunteers helping hoist the giant pennants into place on Norwich City Hall, designed by Karen Steadmanin place for the torch relay celebrations. Photo: Steve Adams

Volunteers helping hoist the giant pennants into place on Norwich City Hall, designed by Karen Steadmanin place for the torch relay celebrations. Photo: Steve Adams

The five colours of the Olympic rings can be seen flying high outside City Hall as giant bunting helps bring together elements of the 1948 and 2012 London Games.

A team of volunteers could be spotted putting up the 10 vinyl flags yesterday, two of each of the colours of the Olympic rings – red, blue, yellow, black and green.

The Norwich City Council-commissioned project, led by Creative Arts East in partnership with artists from Art of the Ordinary, has seen more than 30 older people from four care homes across the city share their memories of the 1948 Olympic Games and influence the design of the bunting.

One flag features an image of a runner, representing Fanny Blankers-Koen, who was known as the “Flying Housewife” from the 1948 Games, another a sewing machine, to resemble the “make do and mend” philosophy of the era and one a wireless to signify the type of communication used at the time.

Billy Brasher, an umpire at the 1948 Games and who set up the Norwich Swans Swimming Club, features on one of the flags and a skipping rope and spinning tops are displayed on another to highlight how people in 1948 may have not been able to watch the Olympic Games but were still inspired to get outdoors and be active.

An image of the 1948 Olympic Torch can also be seen on one of the flags while another features an image of the malt drink Ovaltine – the official sports drink of the 1948 Games.

The bunting is due to stay up from now until after next weekend’s Lord Mayor’s procession.

Natalie Jode, executive director of Creative Arts East, said: “It looks brilliant. What we’re doing in Norwich is incredible and the lengths we have gone to to decorate the city and get as many people involved as possible is brilliant.

“Everyone is going to feel really proud of where we live.”

Norwich-based Art of the Ordinary artists Karen Steadman, Di Tye and Nicola Gibson have spent time with people living at Somerley Home in Somerleyton Street, Harriet Court Nursing Home in Lakenfields, Lakenham, Ellacombe Nursing Home in Ella Road, Thorpe Hamlet, and Philadelphia House in Penn Grove.

The names of those that have helped come up with the designs are printed in wreaths at the bottom of each flag.

Ms Steadman said: “It’s been a lovely experience and has made the project so worthwhile. They have thoroughly enjoyed being part of something and they had so many memories to share and stories to tell.

“We’re really pleased with the final result and it’s nice to be able to recognise the 1948 London Olympics as well as this year’s Games. It’s been really exciting to have been involved in such a large-scale project and to have involved the community.”

As well as the giant bunting, Creative Arts East has produced 10,000 flags featuring the image of the 1948 Olympic Torch, which will be distributed to members of the public on Wednesday.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest Olympic Torch Relay news in your Evening News and online at

Don’t miss our four-page ultimate guide in Tuesday’s paper and our late edition special on Wednesday.

Photos and stories from the day will be featured in our eight-page souvenir pull-out on Thursday.

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