Dorking health workers part of Olympic opening ceremony
WHILE millions tuned into the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, eagle-eyed Mole Valley viewers might have spotted some people they recognised among the 8,000 volunteers onstage. Jessica Pan reports.
SARAH Lindsay, clinics and contracts manager at Dorking Hospital, donned a 1940s nurse's uniform for the NHS section of the ceremony.
Ms Lindsay, of South Street, Dorking, attended two four-hour dance auditions and heard in January that she had been selected.
"I had no dancing background, so it was a shock to the system," she said.
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"We started rehearsals in April and there were two or three a week. It's been a lot of hard work."
The 37-year-old often slept on a friend's sofa in London because the eight-hour rehearsals ended after the last train home.
"The choreography was great to learn because none of us had done anything like that," she said.
"The difficult bit was learning how to spell out the letters with beds and co-ordinating people.
"You need to be up high to see it, so when you were in the middle it was pretty tricky.
"There was a grid system on the floor, so you'd have to learn your coordinates. That took a lot of co-ordination and a lot of practice."
Yvonne Haskett, 50, of Lakeview, Dorking, was also part of the NHS section, entitled "second star to the right and straight on till morning".
"The adrenaline was really pumping, the heartbeat going round the stadium moments before we went on and then hearing the bells and then the crowd roar was amazing," she said.
"Just seeing all those beds lined up was great. I never expected the reaction to be like that."
Most performers in the NHS section of the show work for the organisation, but Miss Haskett works in the visitor information centre at Dorking Halls.
Both women described director Danny Boyle as "down-to-earth".
Ms Lindsay said: "He was fantastic, very inspiring, very motivational, and has an amazing imagination to come up with something like that.
"He was hugely supportive and grateful for everything the volunteers did."
Most of the ceremony was a surprise for the women, who went on just after stuntmen playing the parts of James Bond and the Queen parachuted into the Olympic stadium.
"We had no idea until afterwards," Ms Lindsay said. "That was really exciting. We didn't know about JK Rowling or Rowan Atkinson. They kept that all secret from us too."