The countdown to the opening of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games was celebrated with a spectacular combination of fireworks, silver stars, confetti cannons and streamers in Olympic colours of blue, green, black, red and yellow, symbolising the nations of the world that will compete in the Games.

Set against the backdrop of Liverpool’s Williamson Square fountain, the stunning display, combining the cascading fountain and pyrotechnics, provided a fitting finale of the 22 day ‘Be Part of 2012’ Roadshow.

London 2012 Chairman Seb Coe led the 2012 celebrations held in Liverpool, the last stop for the 2012 Roadshow, which has visited 65 locations across all 12 regions of the UK and travelled over 3,300 miles, informing communities about the wide range of benefits, opportunities and activities related to the Games.

Seb Coe Chairman of London 2012 commented, “Exactly six years ago from today we will be welcoming athletes and visitors from more than 200 nations to London and the UK, for the biggest peace-time event the world has seen.

“The Games gives us the opportunity to improve our nation’s health, create new business opportunities and increase the number of visitors to our country.  80,000 spectators from around the UK and the world will also be making their way to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony in the new Olympic Park – which will be the biggest urban park in Europe.”

The Chair of Culture, Ceremonies & Education for London 2012, Liverpool born Jude Kelly, also in the Square to see the celebratory ceremony said, “Liverpool will be the European Capital of Culture in 2008 – the year that the Cultural Olympiad for the 2012 Games begins.  Many cultural celebrations will take place across the UK, including the high profile Olympic Torch Relay, in the lead up to the Olympic Ceremony, which will showcase the youth, culture, diversity and creative excellence of the UK.

“Young people from around the UK will be recruited to be part of the Opening Ceremony and the creative work and ideas of young people from around the city will also be on display in the Olympic Park.”

Earlier in the day Olympic legend Daley Thompson and Sports Minister Richard Caborn joined the 2012 Roadshow as it travelled to Preston and visited regional cities that will also host Olympic football and cultural events.  At Manchester’s Old Trafford the footballer and manager Sir Alex Ferguson led a tour of the 2012 venue and there was a demonstration of soccer skills from promising young players from the area.

Richard Caborn commented, “Travelling 3,300 miles over the last 3 weeks, our Roadshow has taken the message to people in all parts of the country that there’s something in the 2012 Games for them.  The government is determined that benefits from Games will be considerable and long lasting – whether boosting business, increasing tourism, enhancing our place in world sport or most importantly, leaving a legacy of better health and increased participation in sport.”

David Higgins, Chief Executive of the ODA added, “Plans to deliver the venues and infrastructure for the 2012 Games are progressing well, with a finalised masterplan setting out the layout of the facilities in the Olympic Park. This is a big win six years out, as it gives us clarity on what we are building. We have also published a programme schedule and have started the tender process for the team that will design and construct the main Stadium.

“I joined the Roadshow for part of its journey and it was great to meet so many people who wanted to hear about our progress. It is that enthusiasm that makes this journey towards the Games so inspiring.”

Colin Moynihan BOA Chairman commented, “In six years time Team GB will parade in the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in front of a home crowd for the first time since 1948.  The atmosphere will be electric, the pressure to perform no greater than on our athletes who will want to achieve our best ever medal haul in front of an expectant home crowd.  In the lead up to 2012, everyone involved in Olympic sport will be aiming for our aspirational goal of finishing in 4th place in the 2012 medal table.  It is an exciting time for Team GB and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for success right across the sporting spectrum, from grass-roots development to high performance sport.”