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MIKE WHALLEY : 2012 London Olympics

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Mike Whalley is a one of London’s leading tourist guides.  When London won the nomination to host the Olympics in 2012, Mike caught the vision for what the Olympic legacy would mean for the city, and in particular the East End.

Mike Whalley | London Olympics - UK [2012 ©]
Mike Whalley has caught the vision for how the 2012 London Olympics will transform the city

Mike Whalley | London Olympics - UK [2012 ©] - Mike Whalley - 2012 London Olympics - Great Guides

Mike is passionate about London. Like all enthusiastic Londoners he likes to quote Samuel Johnson " if you are tired of London you are tired of life”. And certainly when one considers sport, theatre, history and so much more, London ‘has it all’.

London, however, is also a city with a shadow: the grandeur and affluence of the West End in sharp contrast to the poorest parts of the city that grew up around the docks and the polluting industries located down-wind of the city to the East.

The East End has always been the 'downwind' side of London

Mike embraces and is fascinated by all that is London. His own background was in theatre. He trained in Guildford and went on to a career ‘on the boards’ including such West End shows as Les Miserables, Annie and Pirates of Penzance. But he has such a love of history and the endless stories of the city, its people and places, that he qualified as a London Blue Badge Guide in 1996.

The UK has stringent standards of guiding, and Mike took specialist courses to qualify as a guide for Parliament and other major institutions. It is a mark of Mike’s dedication and ability that for two years he was on the board of the Institute of Tourist Guides, which sets the standards, examines and accredits Britain’s guides.

Mike Whalley | London Olympics - UK [2012 ©] - Mike Whalley - 2012 London Olympics - Great Guides
Mike is one of London's leading tourist guides

Mike Whalley | London Olympics - UK [2012 ©] - Mike Whalley - 2012 London Olympics - Great GuidesWhen the London Olympics were announced a new qualification was set for Blue Badge guides to become specialist Olympic Guides. Mike leapt at it and qualified in 2008, focusing much of his guiding and lecturing on what the Olympic process will mean for London: from the massive investment in an area rated as one of the poorest in the UK, through to the sporting and national impact hosting the games will create.

Since the first planning of this gigantic process Mike has been asking ‘what will be the legacy of the Games’. It is a legacy that has caught his imagination and fired his able skills as a guide and lecturer.

£9bn has been invested in one of the poorest parts of the UK

Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 20 Mar 2012
Location: Europe | UK
Themes: skills and interests, travel | sport, tour guide, routes and cities