Get the data: Aggreko torchbearers

Last week we reported on the company where 4 out of 7 executive directors were carrying the Olympic torch.

As part of our process of investigating the allocation of torchbearer places, we’re publishing the data behind that investigation.

This is most likely not an exhaustive list – if you know how many places the company was allocated, please let us know. You can also find a list of employees who have made an impression on the company in their 2011 annual report (PDF), which may contain others.

UPDATE: We have had a tip off that the ‘torch kiss’ between Tom Sreeves and Simon Lyons on Day 26 represented another two Aggreko directors: a Tom Sreeves is also Director of Manufacturing for the company and lives in the same area (his story has since disappeared from the official torchbearer site but is still cached).

If Simon Lyons ever appeared on the official site, it would have been taken off equally quickly, as his name was never caught in any of the sweeps made of the official site by Help Me Investigate. But he is named on the BBC liveblog as receiving the torch from Tom. And he shares his name at least with Aggreko’s Director of Marketing and Communications.

Also appearing without any nomination story is Simon Thompson, who our source suggests is Aggreko’s legal adviser, and certainly the company does have one listed here. Can anyone help confirm or deny?

Previous update: also listed is Philippe Boisaubert, who shares details with the company’s MD for Continental Europe.

Here’s the data:

Useful Olympic links for June 28th through June 29th

Here are the Olympic-related links we’ve been looking at over the last week from June 28th through June 29th:

  • Why does the north remain so unimpressed by the Olympics? | UK news | – Analysing the results of the ComRes polling, it is clear that northern England is simply not engaging with the Olympics. Asked to what extent they were excited about the games, people in the north east mustered 42% of Yes-es, the north west 44% and Yorkshire and the Humber merely 36%. This compared with the 56% who disagreed in the north east, 53% in the north west and 60% in Yorkshire and the Humber. To make things worse, despite coming under budget, across all three northern regions over 60% of respondents felt that the games weren't delivering value for the taxpayer's money. Less than 20% thought that the Olympics would spur them on to engage in sporting activity themselves.
  • Protecting the Olympic Torch | Anglia – ITV News – The TST travels with the Olympic flame, from the moment it is handed over to LOCOG in Athens until it arrives at the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony. The same team will then travel with the Paralympic flame.

    It is made up of around 70 staff and officers, including 35 ‘runners’ – a number of whom are from the Anglia region. Other members include motorcyclists, senior officers to make command and tactical decisions, communication officers to relay messages to the torch security team and operational planners.

    Looking after the torch security is no mean feat, and members of the TST have been through 18 months of gruelling training to prepare for this unusual role.

  • ORG Zine | The Olympics Organising Committee Run Rings Around Transparency – This lack of transparency was highlighted recently when it emerged that Lia Hervey, Sky Sports News’ Olympics producer, had attempted to seek further information about the breakdown of Olympic tickets to the public by sport and session. Of course, as Locog is not obliged to provide this information due to its status as a private company, it has refused to provide this information, despite concerns that savings from the public sector package appear to be trickling over to Locog. However, whilst it is a private company, Locog has been in receipt of public funding to the tune of £183m.
  • Olympic expenditure – a Freedom of Information request to Powys Council – WhatDoTheyKnow
  • How many vehicles does it take to escort one Olympic flame on 300 yard dash? 47! | Mail Online – So how many vehicles does it take to marshal a single Olympic flame for a 300-yard dash? Answer: 47. I counted them all in, and I counted them all out.

    There are 16 ‘core vehicles’ assigned to accompany the torch for its epic journey – which last night saw the unlikely figure of US rap star, the Black Eyed Peas singer and a judge on BBC talent show The Voice, carrying it through Taunton.

    But everywhere the procession goes, a small army of support and ancilliary vehicles is also called into service. In Cornwall on Saturday, for example, the convoy was escorted by police motorcyclists bearing the emblems of five separate constabularies. In south Devon, an ambulance, local dignitaries, firearms officers and police ‘safety officers’ on BMW mountain bikes joined the parade.

Document: Government promised to pay for LOCOG’s losses – however big

Embedded above is a report from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee on preparations for the Olympic and Paralymic Games. Some of the contents were covered (mainly on specialist blogs) when it was published in April, such as the concern over the increase in security costs where:

“LOCOG has had to renegotiate its contract with G4S for venue security from a weak negotiating position and there is a big question mark over whether it secured a good deal for the taxpayer.”

Random Blowe provides further detail on this.

But we haven’t previously published it here.

There’s a lot to look at as the games ramps up to the opening ceremony. One of the sentences that particularly stands out, for example, is this:

“The Government is highly dependent on LOCOG to deliver a successful Games and is obliged to meet any shortfall between LOCOG’s costs and revenues.”

Can you find anything else of interest?

Community and charity: the alternative torch relays springing up across the UK

While LOCOG argues that sponsors are needed to support the Olympic torch relay, and councils struggle to meet the costs of hosting it, there’s a genuine Olympic spirit quietly at work in a series of grassroots alternatives across the country.

From Devon to Moray, alternative relays are involving local communities and raising money for good causes.

Foremost among these is The Real Relay, which sees runners following the official Olympic torch across the British Isles while avoiding the torch’s stops and shortcuts. Organiser Kate Treleaven says they set the relay up in just 5 days:

“We came up with the idea of the Real Relay on Wednesday 23 May, 3 days after seeing the official torch pass through our Devon village. We put the website online on Friday 25 May and we waved our first runner off from Land’s End at midnight on Mon 28 May. We don’t want to knock the official torch relay in any way but we do feel that we’ve proved that LOCOG could and should have organised a continuous running relay for the torch. They had 8 years and seemingly bottomless resources to organise it!”

In Bridlington in Yorkshire, locals were so frustrated by a torchbearer place being given to a Saudi Arabian entrepreneur that they organised their own alternative, with a torch being carried by a disabled long jump star, an athlete, and two members of the town’s fencing club, including still-competing 78-year-old Joy Fleetham.

The relay was then called off after the local council said it could not support it.

Locals in the Forest of Dean held their own relay when the official version missed the area out, in Wimbledon the local newspaper is helping to organise an alternative event after locals were “snubbed”, and in Westerham the local paper launched a “Flaming Cheek” campaign, including plans to hold an alternative relay too.

In Moray in North East Scotland local group Walk, Jog, Run Moray ran its own relay with a target to involve 2012 local people, including the oldest and youngest resident:

And in Hawick Hamish Smith made his own torch for the community to use:

Running through all the alternative torch relays is a focus on community and charity. In Bridlington plans were made to collect money for the local RSPCA and the Katie Walker Trust, while The Real Relay has already raised almost £6,000 for charity.

In contrast, guidelines to local authorities from the Olympic organisers specify that the official torch relay cannot be used to raise money for charity.

And while councils have had to spend tens of thousands hosting the official relay – which some companies have paid tens of millions to the Olympic organisers to sponsor – the organisers of these alternative events have had to keep costs low.

“Do we need big sponsors to organise a national torch relay? A resounding NO!” explains The Real Relay’s Kate Treleaven. “We certainly haven’t sought sponsorship, and in fact we feel that it’s the simplicity of the Real Relay that is much of the attraction. I can’t help feeling that the organisation would have been a lot more complicated if we’d have got sponsors involved. It was certainly something that we knew we didn’t want right from the start.”

As for the costs of the relay, the organisers have relied on goodwill and good organisation:

“We had to pay £180 to put the baton in cargo on its first flight from Liverpool to Isle of Man, but since then all the journeys it’s had to make by air and sea have been free as the air and ferry companies have taken the baton as crew hand luggage.

“We have a couple more journeys to make out to the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands, and we’re hoping that we will be able to arrange for the baton to travel for free there too.

“Logistically, it’s taken us a lot of time breaking the Olympic Torch route down into stages of about 10-12 miles. The actual route between the communities is up to the runner but we strongly recommend that they avoid major roads.

“There have been areas where it has been more of a struggle to find runners than others. In all honesty we have come quite close to the wire on occasions. i.e. phoning round running clubs trying to get someone to run a stage in 6 hours time!  But, as momentum grows and word of the Real Relay grows we’re now finding that we have more than enough eager runners wanting to get involved.”


Useful Olympic links for June 22nd through June 27th

Here are the Olympic-related links we’ve been looking at over the last week from June 22nd through June 27th:

  • BBC’s Olympic rights under threat from new TV deal | Sport | The Guardian – total, $3.91bn was raised from TV rights deals for the 2010 and 2012 Games, a significant increase on the $2.57bn raised from the previous four years. A further, more-modest increase is expected for 2014 and 2016.
  • Distributing Cushions – The History | – In the middle of all this we had the request from British Olympic Association (BOA) to make red, white and blue cushions for Team GB athletes at the Winter Youth Olympic Games. Their plans to ship the cushions direct to the Village in Innsbruck were stopped by organisers there so BOA arranged for the young athletes to choose their cushions in the UK. They loved them so much that they let us know they were taking their cushions to Innsbruck and back in their personal luggage and we have had some lovely thank-you letters! It has been frustrating to have one after another agreed plan brought to an end by or through LOCOG, but inspired by the efforts the athletes are making to get selected for the Games, we are looking upon this as just another challenge to be met. Now we know how much the athletes love the cushions and want to have them, we will persevere and find ways meet their requests.
  • Olympic torch route, day 37: the Games will leave no legacy in Moss Side | Sport | – I found it difficult to promote my
    programme of workshops in schools because I
    was not sanctioned by the council or the
    Olympic committee. I was told I could not use
    the word Olympic to describe or promote my
    song, Olympic Flame, recorded with the Destiny
    Africa children choir in Bridlington last autumn.
    The proceeds will help make Kampala Children's
    Centre self-sufficient by purchasing land for
    them to farm.
  • A games for the people not the sponsors | lives; running – Testament to how London 2012 has purposefully chosen to ignore this counter-model is the Olympic Marathon. Every year the East End successfully hosts a decent chunk of the London Marathon route, but in the single minded desire to showcase the Central London landmarks which are already well-known to the world the route was moved to the centre. For those who would want to watch one of the very few free Olympic events this was also very bad news. Instead of a 26.2 mile route the whole length if the way, a four mile-circuit lapped six times will slash the space for the potential crowd who would have watched in enormous numbers by more than 75%. What might have been one of the most well-supported events of the Games has been reduced by a huge margin and for no reason other than to ensure that corporate control is maintained and the global image of a London Games as represented by Big Ben, the Mall, and Buckingham Palace is maintained.
  • Olympics organizers aggressively guard trademarks – "When you bid to host an Olympic Games," says Simon Chadwick, a professor of sports business at Coventry University in England, "you must, and that's in capital letters, underlined, guarantee to pass legislation outlawing ambush marketing and protecting against any trademark infringement." Read more:

Samsung torchbearers disappear from London2012 website

A cache of the original nomination story for Samsung's Sven Eric Durr

Screengrab of the cache of the original nomination story for Samsung’s Sven Eric Durr. The story has since disappeared from the London2012 website

Nine Olympic torchbearers nominated by Samsung have been airbrushed from the London2012 website.

The MD for Samsung Mobile UK and Ireland, the Chief Operations Officer at Samsung Africa, and the President and CEO for Samsung in Southeast Asia, Oceania and Taiwan are among seven individuals who are no longer listed on the site. Continue reading

Cumbria’s torchbearers – mapped

Mapping Cumbria's Olympic torchbearers - click to see the interactive version

Map 1: Cumbria’s Olympic torchbearers – click to see the interactive version

Following a request from the Cumbrian Newspapers Group, we’ve been cleaning and mapping data on torchbearers from Cumbria.

One map showing where the torchbearers from the area are concentrated is shown above – click the image to explore the interactive version. Continue reading

Who are EDF’s missing torchbearers?

French energy company EDF were given 71 places on the Olympic torch relay – including the group’s former director of HR and communications, Yann Laroche.

As part of our process of trying to identify how spaces were allocated by sponsors, we’re looking to list them all. Of those nomination stories made public, we can find 19 who mention the company or have been identified elsewhere – listed below.

Most have inspiring tales of volunteering, fundraising, sporting achievement – or all three. They include John Saunders, who publishes a blog about life with motor neurone disease, and Anshul Sharma, who was nominated twice. Do you know who the other 52 are?
Continue reading

Listen again: Help Me Investigate on BBC radio

Adrian Goldberg

Help Me Investigate was featured on Adrian Goldberg’s programme on BBC Radio WM

I spent around 20 minutes yesterday talking about Help Me Investigate and its investigation into Olympic torchbearers on BBC Radio WM. The broadcast broke the story of Aggreko’s executive torchbearers, and also covered some of the issues surrounding sponsors’ selection of torchbearers and doubts over the promise that 90% of spaces would be available to the general public.

The programme is online at – the interview begins around 2 hours and 25 minutes into the broadcast.