Two Midlands security businesses are preparing to celebrate their greatest day in history tomorrow, exactly four years on from the opening of the London 2012 Olympics.
On 27 July 2012, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the 2012 Olympic Games after apparently surviving a death-defying skydive with James Bond actor Daniel Craig as part of Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle’s Isles of Wonder opening ceremony.
Wolverhampton’s Zaun and Coventry-based Harper Chalice cite their largest ever contracts as the springboard to the growth and success they now enjoy.
They helped make the 30th Olympiad the biggest security operation post-war Britain had ever mounted at the cost of £553 million and involving 10,000 police officers, 13,500 armed forces personnel – more than Britain had deployed in Afghanistan at that time – and 70,000 Games Maker volunteers.
London 2012 was widely regarded as a triumph. It was the first Olympics where every participating country included female athletes; it enjoyed packed stadia and smooth organisation; the focus on sporting legacy and post-games venue sustainability was seen as a blueprint for future Olympics, including Rio 2016 nine days’ time.
‘Legacy’ and ongoing community benefit was probably the key factor on which London secured the Games back in 2005 in the face of fierce competition from favourite Paris.
London delivered that in spades, along with a boost to the economy and a genuine nationwide feel-good factor that arguably helped turn a faltering post-credit crunch recovery into sustained economic growth.
The regeneration of east London has been spectacular. Many argue about whether the 2012 Games sparked a long-term sustained greater participation in sports and improved fitness levels to combat the obesity epidemic.
The world-class sporting facilities are also part of the legacy. Still, perhaps less obvious are the ongoing contracts for British manufacturers and service providers, as enjoyed by Harper Chalice and Zaun, among others.
Harper Chalice general manager and director Chris Hackett says: “As part of the pre-award process, we had to install our systems alongside our competitors for trial and testing by the Government Security Services.
“But the prize for winning was huge – 26 kilometres of PIDs and electric fencing at over 400 zones around the Olympic Park, that has formed the basis of the TriSecure complete perimeter protection system that we now provide. Today alongside Zaun to high-security utility sites and others.”
Certainly, Zaun’s Games legacy as the principal 2012 Olympics fencer keeps running and running.
It has returned to the Olympic Stadium on several occasions, first decommissioning after the 2012 Paralympics, then reconfiguring and removing security fencing for last autumn’s Rugby World Cup and most recently to prepare it as the new home of West Ham United Football Club and a national competition centre for British Athletics.
The transformation included installing the largest roof of its kind globally, a community track, innovative retractable seating, spectator and hospitality facilities and external landscaping.
But the London legacy is about much more than just sporting venues. Zaun has also provided fencing around the ArcelorMittal Orbit, transforming the 275m-long Olympic media complex into iCITY and innovative ‘green’ acoustic fencing panels for the Chobham Academy on the former Athletes’ Village site.
Zaun head of sales Chris Plimley concludes: “London’s legacy has touched education, commerce, industry, culture, media, tourism, sport and a whole lot more.
“We owe a large part of our commercial success to the Games, and London showed how they could benefit an entire nation. So I’m amazed more cities aren’t getting on the bidding bandwagon once again.”