London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Karen Eastland, Pamela McHutchon and I had front row tickets for wheelchair rugby aka ‘the best fun you can have with your clothes’ on at the London 2014 Invictus Games. This international sporting event, held at the Olympic Park where London Blue Badge Tourist Guides now regularly giving walking tours, turned out to be a star-studded event.
The warm up games were exciting enough but the big surprise was a curtain-raiser featuring Dame Kelly Holmes, Zara Philipps, Mike Tindall, Jason Robinson, Denise Lewis and Prince Harry himself, who received a yellow card and was ‘sent off’ for one minute.
Prince Harry’s team was coached by Jonny Wilkinson, World Cup winning legend, with their opponents being coached by Sir Clive Woodward. The crowd, including Pippa and James Middleton, Mayor Boris Johnson and Kate Hoey MP cheered and whooped as the tries came thick and fast. But the undoubted highlight of the evening (and of the whole Games according to Prince Harry) was a tightly-contested final between Team USA and Team GB with the latter winning by just one point in the last minute.
It was the most brilliant fun to witness healthy competition between these soldiers, many of whom suffered life-changing injuries fighting for their country and one of whom ‘died’ twice on his way to hospital. The Olympic Walk continues three days a week, enlivened by our stories of attending this fabulous and inspiring event which took place in the Copper Box on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Roll on the next Invictus Games – we can’t wait!
London Blue Badge Tourist Guides: Karen Eastland, Pamela McHutchson and Victoria Herriott with rugby star Jonny Wilkinson who scored the drop goal that won England the World Cup in 2003. Photo: ©Victoria Herriott.