Standing next to Admiralty Arch on The Mall, I watched the parade with a mixture of awe, pride and emotion.
I’d been invited as a thank you for my work as a London Ambassador. I had volunteered for the scheme – which saw me dressed in pink and purple, giving out tourist advice in Leicester Square this summer – and had fitted it around my day job as commissioning editor of HELLO!.
The spectators on The Mall had each played a part in this unforgettable summer. I was joined by fellow London Ambassadors, as well as Games Makers and those who had performed at the opening and closing ceremonies. We were asked to wear our uniforms, and standing out among us were Pearly Queens and women in period nurses’ outfits.
While we waited for the parade, Eddie Izzard ran the length of The Mall giving the spectators high fives. We took part in Mexican waves and a small group of dancers and musicians gave an
impromptu performance beneath Admiralty Arch. There was a real sense of camaraderie; I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to so many strangers in one day.
As the procession approached, the roar from the crowd and the smiles on everyone’s faces is something I will never forget. It felt as if the whole of London was supporting Team GB and ParalympicsGB; workmen had downed tools on a nearby site to take in the scene, while office workers and local residents leant over balconies.
A beaming Mo Farah passed doing the Mobot. TV presenter Clare Balding was on another float and had her hands clasped over her mouth as she struggled to contain her tears.
After the parade ended, I wandered to Trafalgar Square to watch the final speeches on a big screen. It was with reluctance that I left; being a London Ambassador and watching the Games has enriched my life this summer.