Havering’s Olympic bid

BUSINESS leaders in Havering and a sporting legend are hoping to push forward a campaign to make our borough a key player in the build up to the 2012 Olympics.

Former British Olympic javelin thrower Fatima Whitbread is to be the guest of honour at a website launch supporting businesses and Havering Council as they drive forward the idea that Havering should be part of this phenomenal sporting event.

The campaign – so far backed by Harefield Manor Hotel, Romford Recorder, McDonalds, Havering Council and Lloyds TSB – is looking to get as many other businesses on board to support Havering in being considered as an Olympic site for training grounds.

This could include using our sports centres or school facilities, as well as entertainment, hospitality and accommodation – even using our schools’ green spaces as campsites for visitors.

Paul Harris, of Harefield Manor Hotel, in Main Road, Romford, said: “This is one event in a lifetime. There’s going to be thousands of people coming over from all over the world.

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“We want to promote the borough. We have the facilities, we’ve just got to promote ourselves.”

He and his team haveset up a website called www.visithavering.co.uk to promote the borough’s retail, leisure and hospitality businesses to the hundreds of thousands of people who are going to be flocking to London from now until the 2012 extravaganza.

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He wants as many businesses as possible to join the campaign.

Mr Harris said: “We are only six miles from Stratford and we are the only four-star hotel between here and the stadium.

“Approximately 330,000 teams and their partners, loved ones and others are going to be heading to London. That’s a huge market Havering needs to latch onto.”

The website went live this week, and is being officially launched at an event next Wednesday, December 1, from 5.30pm at Harefield Manor.

Fatima Whitbread was confirmed on board just yesterday when she met Mr Harris at David Lloyd gym.

Mr Harris said: “We are thrilled to have Fatima Whitbread supporting us. She is one of the world’s most famous athletes.”

Any businesses can log on and sign up to be promoted on the website.

The meeting next week will give everyone a chance to hear more about the aims behind the campaign.

Romford Recorder editor Mark Sweetingham added: “This is a tremendous opportunity to put Havering on the world map and give our economy a massive boost at the same time.

“I urge everybody to get on board.”

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