London 2012: Seb Coe thanks troops for Olympic help

London 2012 chief Seb Coe thanked the Armed Forces for their help with the Games on a visit to a temporary camp in Hainault today.

Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), made the visit with Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards.

The temporary camp in Hainault Forest Country Park, Fox Burrow Road, Hainault, was built by company Snoozebox, and is home to 3,500 troops who were drafted in to provide security for the Games just weeks before the event, after G4S was unable to provide enough staff. There are 300 G4S staff at the camp as well.

On the visit today Lord Coe said: “The reason I’m here is really out of gratitude, to thank those guys for stepping in, admittedly quite late in the day and also to thank their families who I know have possibly had some of their summer plans disrupted.

“I really genuinely think that when we look back at these Games one of the defining features will be the involvement and the commitment of our armed services.

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“They’ve discharged their duties with professionalism, with humour, and with grace, and that has really gone noticed in pretty much every corner of this project.”

Gen Richards and Lord Coe toured the camp, visiting its catering facilities, gym – where Lord Coe had a go on a spin bike, and welfare tent, meeting troops.

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Lord Coe said: “I also wanted to make the point that I was not only grateful, I’m also respectful of the fact that some of them had to have their plans changed. Some thought they would be on leave and that will have affected their families, so for me it was a heartfelt thank you for doing this.”

Troops have been given tickets to watch sporting events, and Lord Coe said: “I spoke to Gen Richards, we both spoke some weeks ago about making sure where possible we would give those opportunities, so a lot have gone in to see sport.

“Some I gave the opportunity to go and see our dress rehearsal for the great opening ceremony.”

He said where possible they wanted to recognise the commitment that had been made and provide some members of the military with “some of the biggest moments they will remember”.

Gen Richards paid tribute to the families of troops involved in security at the Games. He said: “As a soldier myself, I know that service demands often come before personal plans.

“Many sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines have delayed time with friends and family this summer to help support the London 2012 Games.

“I also acknowledge the friends and families of the men and women deployed on the Olympics. Their support is, indirectly, contributing to the magnificent success of London 2012.”

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