Goodbye Eton Manor – Paralympic memories

Eton ManorThe Paralympics are nearly over – just the closing ceremony tonight and the athlete’s parade tomorrow. Here’s a roundup up of impressions from the Olympic Park, especially from Eton Manor, home to the wheelchair tennis, where I worked as a Games Maker.

With 27 degrees of blazing sunshine, Centre Court was a tough assignment. Games Makers got through the week on gallons of bottled water, oceans of sunblock and bucketloads of chocolates.

Eton Manor Centre CourtThe flowers were in bloom all over the park. These were just outside the entrance to Eton Manor.

Flowers at Eton ManorSpectator food stalls (here seen before the crowds arrived) were popular but never developed the huge queues of the Olympic Games. Games Makers ate workforce lunch (and dinner for those of us working twelve hour shifts) in a huge marquee which was the only place we could enjoy the luxury of sitting down.

Eton Manor food stallsThe Band of the Welsh Guards playing outside Centre Court before the first match started on Friday.

The Band of the Welsh Guards at Eton ManorThe atmosphere in the park was happy and relaxed. The peaceful walks by the river, teams of buskers and art installations made it seem more like a family festival than a sporting event.

Paralympics spectators in the parkThe Beat Box by night – a fusion of experimental architecture, sport music and technology in which the structure acts as a musical instrument allowing visitors to remix the music as they pass through the building.

The Beat BoxSadly Team GB’s Peter Norfolk, didn’t manage a medal in the quad singles but popular Nick Taylor, of the USA who uses his foot to throw up the ball to serve, got a bronze – Here’s the Victory Ceremony.

Quad singles victory ceremonyShingo Kunieda won the men’s singles gold in a dramatic match with the final stages played under floodlights. – here he is (in the blue tracksuit) talking to the press after the game.

Shingo KuniedaEven the sky over Eton Manor seemed to be in the mood to celebrate as the last thrilling match ended.

The sky over Eton ManorWe toasted the end of the games in London 2012 wine (in plastic bottles).

London 2012 wineThe Eton Manor sign shines for the last time. After the games it will become a 5,000 seat hockey stadium and indoor tennis centre.

Eton Manor sign

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