Tower Hamlets school children carried petals in Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony

Thirty-six pupils from a secondary school in Poplar carried copper petals that formed the cauldron holding the Olympic flame during the Olympic opening ceremony.

The students from Langdon Park School in Byron Street landed their role in Mile End based film-director Danny Boyle’s spectacular show following dance auditions earlier in the year.


The school’s head teacher Chris Dunne, explained that as plans developed the children, who initially thought they would be dancing in the ceremony, were asked to carry the petals.

His pupils walked into the Olympic Stadium with athletes representing countries, which were lined up alphabetically, from the The Philippines to Tajikistan.

Countries they joined for the parade included Russia, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Poland and Romania.

The students were among secondary school pupils from the six Olympic host boroughs carrying petals, which each represented a participating nation.

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Mr Dunne said: “They got a much more important role in the end walking in with the countries, it is after all about the athletes, and they couldn’t care less if they weren’t dancing. They were just over the moon to take part.

“I’ve never seen anything like it myself, it was such a creative and beautiful idea to have all of the petals form the cauldron and represent a nation.

“I was at the rehearsals the Wednesday before but neither the students nor I realised then that the petals would end up forming the cauldron, it was a well kept secret.

“I was so proud of them. They looked so confident despite millions of people watching worldwide. They did themselves, the school, their families and the nation proud.”

Mr Dunne said Boyle came backstage to thank the students before the opening ceremony.

“They also caught a glimpse of David Beckham and Steve Redgrave backstage on the night,” he added.

After being ignited the petals rose on long stems to forming a cauldron signifying unity and peace.

Children from three primary school in Tower Hamlets, Marner, Manorfield and

Marian Richardson also played starring roles in the ceremony.

The pupils all took part in the scenes featuring NHS doctors and nurses and children dancing on hospital beds.