Downham Market flies a flag for London 2012 Olympics

Beams of sunshine burst through the overcast sky as youngster Lilly Skeels raised Downham Market's Olympic Celebration flag this afternoon.

The Downham Prep School pupil said she took the 'best bits' of her home town and London to come up with the vision for the flag which will remain fly above the Town Hall until the end of the London Paralympic Games in September.

The 11-year-old's design was then brought to life thanks to Downham High School students Nikkita Palmer and Emma Smith and their teacher Cheryl Syrett.

Lilly said: 'When I was designing it, I first thought of Downham Market and the clock tower and the River Ouse and then I thought of London and Big Ben, the River Thames and other things in London and put them together.

'I thought it was a good design but I never thought it would win. All my family have told me how proud they are and I think it is very good how it has been made.'

Her mum Denise added: 'When I found out Lilly's design had won, I was absolutely thrilled.

'I think it looks really nice and colourful and the high school students have done a really good job of bringing Lilly's design to life.'

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Student Nikkita Palmer said she was impressed by the design when she started to create the flag but admitted it was a difficult task.

She said: 'It took us two weeks of working after school everyday to get it ready in time.

'But I am so pleased with how it has turned out and now every time I go past the Town Hall I will feel proud knowing that I helped to make this flag.'

Just before Lilly raised the flag, Downham Market mayor Val Starling thanked those who packed the Town Square for the historic event, which officially launched the town's London 2012 celebrations, and she described the flag as being 'very special'.

The town's mayor added the flag will be replaced temporarily by different flags when the town celebrates the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and during the Downham Market's annual festival.

There were also a range of free events and displays, including Zumba and disco fit, in the Town Square before the flag was raised.

Frances Rayner, the town's sports co-ordinator, said: 'This whole event heads up a series of events that will see the community getting a touch of the Olympic experience as well as developing a healthy lifestyle.

'It was very busy with lots of people coming along and joining in with the classes and enjoying themselves which was really nice to see.'

Sarah Mawby, events co-ordinator at the town council, added: 'It has been an absolutely brilliant event with a brilliant turnout.

'Lily's flag design is fantastic and although it was a tough challenge, the high school students have done a phenomenal job. It's absolutely spot on and is a real testament to their skill.'