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Newbury man's pride at Olympics opening ceremony performance

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Festival Lettings property developer John McCusker, aged 53, of Newbury, answered an ad in January, and two auditions and 200 hours of rehearsals later found himself part of the team performing in one of the opening segments.
“Our group were part of the industrial revolution and we came out of the top of the tor and helped turn green and pleasant land into the dark satanic mill set which forged out the Olympic rings,” he said.

“We rehearsed at Dagenham and then at the beginning of July they moved us to the Olympic stadium. For someone like me who has never done anything like this before it was amazing to see it all come together.
“I had no idea of the scale of it, you work together within your segment. It was about six days before the ceremony that we got to see all the segments together. It was only then you saw how complex it was, how complicated and how many people were involved.
“Danny Boyle was very visible throughout the entire process. He was always there, talking, geeing us up, he was very helpful and accessible.
“He told us that the Games were commercial and had been taken over by the sponsors, and that it used to be about amateurs and it wasn't really like that any more. We were basically the only amateur part of it left, we were doing it for normal people and we were representing normal people.
“He said "the Olympics belongs to people like you". At the time we though "yeah, he is just telling us this to get us going" but he was proved absolutely right, it was exactly how he said it would be.
“I still haven't come down really, am buzzing about it.”
Mr McCusker said although the night went by in a blur the performers were given a DVD of the making of the ceremony and the finished spectacle, and a certificate to say they had performed.

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