Published: Jul 02, 2012
A student’s Olympics-themed outreach scheme moved into top gear when the flame came to the North West.
Ben Brown, who graduates this summer with a BA (Hons) in Music, is the founder of The Balloons Project, which has worked with over 1,000 young people in the region over the last three years.
In June Ben, pictured, got to run with the Olympic flame in his hometown of Southport in recognition of his work. Later in the day, he and his team of LIPA volunteers watched on as more than 100 Balloons Project participants performed live in Liverpool’s Clayton Square, as part of the official torch relay celebrations.
Fellow music graduate Andrew Coleman, who graduated in 2008, was also invited to carry the torch this year, in recognition of his work as a fund-raiser for eyesight charities and other causes.
The Balloons Project uses the performing arts and the seven Olympic and Paralympic values to engage with young people, and holds several Games-related awards. Ben, 26, started the scheme as part of a class assignment and is now looking for funding to help secure its future.
On his dash with the torch, Ben said: “It was really surreal – and a real honour – something which I will never, ever forget.”
The special outdoor performance saw young people from north-west schools, along with members of Rare Studios Liverpool and LIPA 4:19 youth academy, take to the stage with current LIPA students and representatives from local adult choir Indigo Vibe.
Over 1,000 balloons were paraded from LIPA to Clayton Square. The participants then performed a piece involving singers, dancers and musicians.
The show included the unveiling of seven characters called the “Champions” of the Olympic and Paralympic values. Created by LIPA BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance Design student Onai Bikishoni, the brightly attired characters were played by current and former LIPA students. The characters are the Warrior for Courage, the Fire King for Determination, the Lightning Bolt for Excellence, the Rabbit for Friendship, the Visitor for equality, the Indigo Ninja for Respect and the Oracle for Inspiration.
Picture of Ben courtesy of Coca-Cola and the Press Association.
See pictures from The Balloons Project's Clayton Square performance