WISBECH engineer Kim Allington was burning with excitement on Friday after he unknowlingly played a part in the extravaganza of the Olympic opening ceremony.
The 53-year-old dad couldn’t believe that a secret project he worked on for the past three months turned out to be part of the innovative Olympic cauldron.
Kim was one of a team of six Fenland-area engineers, who created the 204 copper petals carried into the stadium during the parade of competitors before being turned into the focal point of the ceremony.
“We believed we were working on a sculpture for the Olympic stadium, which would be unveiled at the opening ceremony. The first I knew that it was the main focal point was when they started to light the petals and I started getting texts from my partner, Bev,” said Kim, who was out enjoying a quiet pint with mates at the Hare and Hounds pub.
“I couldn’t believe it, I just felt so proud that I had helped create such a magnificent centre-piece. I wasn’t involved in any of the actual mechanism of the cauldron, but to be honest the copper petals really made it - they looked brilliant,” said Kim, who runs his own firm Allington Engineering in Sutton Road.
He worked as part of a team of six craftsmen put together by Thorney-based Contour Autocraft, who were subcontracted by the main contractors Stage One of Yorkshire.
“Basically they wanted me to join the team, I didn’t have to quote for my time or anything. They were looking for people with the skills needed to create the petals. Every one is handcrafted using copper and took at least five hours to make. My hands are still recovering from all the hammering and moulding.”
The team made a total of over 600 petals. The first batch was a trial run, they then made a set for the Olympics and another for the paralympics.
“I understand each country will take their own petal home after the closing ceremony so we had to make a set for the paralympics too,” said Kim, who was allowed to make an extra petal to keep.
“It is the same as the Team GB petal and I will inscribe it with my name and the date and keep it as an heirloom for my son Ryan, who was nine on Saturday,” added Kim, who said he was still buzzing from the excitment.