A Shropshire sporting star was among a group of young athletes given the honour of lighting the ceremonial flame at the London Olympics, as the greatest show on earth got off to a spectacular start.
Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle was today showered with plaudits for his opening ceremony, which combined history, humour and quirky British tradition.
Speculation had been rife about who would take the flame on its final journey, and the honour went to seven teenage sporting stars, including 18-year-old Aidan Reynolds, from Randlay in Telford.
The former Thomas Telford School pupil gave up a promising basketball career to focus on the javelin, winning three medals at national level at the English Schools, UK School Games and English Championships.
He has been offered a place at Oxford University to study physics, pending the results of his maths, further maths, physics and chemistry exams.
Today, his father Shaun said: "We knew he had some part in the opening ceremony, but we didn't know until two weeks ago he was actually lighting the cauldron."
The lighting of the flame was the culmination of a three-and-a-half hour show, viewed by more than one billion people globally.
Earlier, there were cheers of approval and gasps of amazement as the Queen made her acting debut opposite Daniel Craig's James Bond."Good evening Mr Bond," the Queen said in a specially filmed mini-movie, before they left together, apparently heading towards the stadium in a helicopter.
The aircraft then flew over the stadium to the sound of the Bond theme tune, as two figures parachuted down, one dressed as the monarch.
The opening ceremony also included starring roles for Rowan Atkinson, Sir Kenneth Branagh, JK Rowling, and Sir Paul McCartney, as well as tributes to the National Health Service and a recreation of the Industrial Revolution.
International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge also hinted at Much Wenlock's role when he paid tributes to the UK's inspirational role in founding the modern games, saying the Olympics had 'come home'.
The first medals were due to be handed out today, and hopes were high that Mark Cavendish could bring home Britain's first gold medal in the road race, where Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins was also competing.
See more Olympic coverage and an opening ceremony picture special in today's Shropshire Star
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