Wealthy London boroughs paid less for Olympic Torch Relay – investigation

Image attribution: Angryoffinchley

Image: Angryoffinchley

London boroughs with the poorest populations paid more to host Olympic Torch Relay events, while more affluent boroughs spent nothing, according to an investigation by Help Me Investigation users.

Waltham Forest spent over £250,000 whereas Westminster incurred no costs.

Government data shows that Westminster has more than six times the number of active businesses compared with Waltham Forest, despite having a smaller population. Continue reading

Raided reserves, extra staff, and lots of bunting: how did your council foot the £13m torch relay bill?

Intersport general manager Tom Foley and Next's Group Product Director Christos Angelides exchange an olympic 'torch kiss'

Intersport general manager Tom Foley and Next’s Group Product Director Christos Angelides exchange an olympic ‘torch kiss’ – photo from BBC Stoke

By Carol Miers, Juliet Ferguson and Paul Bradshaw

Funds intended for maritime festivals, economic development, council reserves and food markets were among pots which were raided to pay for torch relay bills, according to an investigation by Help Me Investigate users.

The details come from almost 100 Freedom of Information requests to local authorities by Carol Miers and Juliet Ferguson. They reveal that over £4m was spent by respondents to meet Olympic organisers’ requirements for hosting the events. If the figures are representative, the total bill across the UK could top £13m.

Now we need your help to find out more.

Continue reading

LOCOG loses track of Binstead’s Wheelz

Binstead and Martin, London Mini Marathon
Binstead and Martin, London Mini Marathon.  Jack Binstead (U14) and Collette Martin (U17) in the Wheelchairs Mini Marathon on 17 April 2011. Taken from Birdcage Walk by Snappa.

For the book 8,000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way Carol interviewed the mother of wheelchair racer Jack Binstead. Here we publish a more in depth interview with Jack and his family.

Wheelchair athlete Jack Binstead is now aiming for the 2016 Paralympics after the disappointment of missing out on being a torch bearer in his home town of Kingston-on-Thames.

Jack got through to the final stage but the story of how the fifteen year old Kingston kid known as Wheelz to his 3,000 Twitter followers, was overlooked by LOCOG, is heartbreaking.

“I have raced the London mini-marathon five or six times and I have won about three times. Obviously I wanted to be selected and I understand, but I was told that the people who are carring it aren’t actually from the Borough and that is one thing that isn’t good,” Jack said. Continue reading

How to: identify mystery torchbearers

Despite the promise of 8,000 torchbearers “all with inspirational stories”, hundreds of Olympic torchbearers have been listed on the official Olympic Torch Relay site without any nomination story at all. We’ve identified dozens who share their names with senior staff at sponsor organisations and their commercial partners. Here’s how to do it through some advanced search techniques: Continue reading

Olympics citizen reporting hub to launch in June with day of free workshops

A hub that hopes to build a “sustainable group of citizen journalists” will be offering free workshops at its launch on June 29th. Tickets here.

#media2012, in partnership with 3D Native, is launching its West Midlands hub with an unconference day at The Public (West Bromwich) from 10am.

The day will be filled with workshops including:

  • How to set up a free website
  • How to set up a paid site
  • WordPress blogging
  • Video production & editing
  • Recording audio
  • Live blogging
  • Publishing from mobile (video, text, pictures & audio)
  • Any other suggested sessions from attendees

Visitors will be encouraged to trade skills and ideas, helping to build connections between different communities, encouraging engagement with locals and media producers to generate a unique perspective on coverage of the Olympics and beyond.

On the 30th June attendees will be invited back to West Bromwich to put into the practice the skills learnt the previous day, helping to create a solid group of community journalists who are passionate about their local area and want to give it a voice.

Workshops will be delivered by media workers from across the UK, including Adam Perry from Newsnet’s Media Trust who are backed by organisations such as BBC, Sky, Google, The Guardian, MTV and many more; Jon Coster from Citizens Eye, a successful citizen journalism group based in Leicester; as well as Franzi Bahrle, Jennifer Jones, Joe Hagen, Luke Holloway, Luke Seager, Ollie Clark and Steve Hands.

You can find free tickets here.

Nottingham torchbearers – mapped

With Nottingham punching above its weight in being the second largest source of torchbearers, I thought I’d show where Nottingham folk will be carrying the torch.

The full data is available here. If you can do anything with it, let us know.

The map below adds 16 further torchbearers from Nottinghamshire towns, and colour codes the results based on age band: green for under 20s, purple for over 60s, and yellow and blue respectively for 20-40 and 41-60.

UPDATE: Featured on Sport Nottinghamshire.

Who are the torchbearers?

A 101-year-old former marathon runner and multiple world record holder will be the oldest man to carry the Olympic torch, according to an analysis of data on over 6,000 torchbearers.

Fauja Singh announced his retirement from marathon running shortly before competing in the London Marathon last month, his last race.

A Facebook page campaigning for his nomination has gathered almost 3,000 ‘Likes’, which helped contribute to the announcement of his participation in the torch relay last weekend. Previously the oldest participant was reported to be Diana Gold, who will be 100 when she carries the torch through Barnet.

11-year-old Dominic Macgowan from Birmingham can claim to be the most youthful torchbearer named on the London 2012 website – although almost 2,000 of the 8,000 torchbearers are yet to be announced.

The analysis also reveals that the median age of torchbearers is 35, but teenagers dominate the field, with the most common age of torchbearers being 17, and almost a quarter of torchbearers aged 19 and younger.

And London boasts by far the most torchbearers: its 355 torchbearers account for five times as many as the second most popular home town: Nottingham, with 66.

Nottingham does particularly well for its population of around 285,000, less than a twenty-fifth of Greater London’s 7.2 million, although London’s 355 torchbearers do not include those who are more specific about their hometown, naming London suburbs such as Ealing and Harrow.

Cities feature heavily in the top ten, including Glasgow and Aberdeen, Belfast, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Leeds and Bournemouth. Wales is the only part of the UK unrepresented, with Cardiff’s 31 torchbearers putting it at 14th.

We’ll be publishing further analysis of the torchbearers later this week.

Thanks to Zarino Zappia and Scraperwiki for helping with the collation of data.