At Horse Guards Parade in central London, 260 Guardsmen have marked 100 days to go to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
It took 260 men and women from the Foot Guards and bands of the Household Division to form the 100 symbol on Horse Guards parade.
The troops involved normally guard the sovereign in the UK and protect the nation on frontline operational duties.
The soldiers participating are proud to represent their country and extend a warm welcome to all those visiting the UK this summer.
Horse Guards Parade, which lies at the heart of London’s capital, will be one of the most sought after locations this summer. It will be the site of pageantry for the Diamond Jubilee and Trooping of the Colour for the Queen’s Birthday Parade, and then will be the venue for the London 2012 Beach Volleyball competition.
Sergeant Michael Parker is currently serving in Nijmegen Company, the Grenadier Guards, based at Wellington Barracks, London, and was in the very front, dead centre of the middle zero in the one hundred.
Michael’s company is the main ceremonial unit for the Grenadier Guards and this summer he will be involved with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee events and also will be taking part in the Trooping of the Colour to celebrate HM the Queen’s Birthday. Michael is not just a ceremonial soldier; he has served with the Grenadier Guards on frontline operational duties in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Michael said: “It was a very proud moment for me. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the best of Britain to the world than to get the Guardsmen on Parade. It’s fantastic and such a privilege to be involved, knowing that this image is going to be seen around the world.
"It’s also a fantastic opportunity for people to get a glimpse of what they will see this summer. In addition to the main events, the Guards will be performing their ceremonial duties every day outside the Royal Palaces of Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London, providing an image of Britain every visitor looks forward to and expects.”
The Brigade Major of the Household Division, Lt Col Andrew Speed, oversaw and participated in the 100 days to go event, providing the tick to the number one of one hundred.
His office overlooks the historic parade ground and he is filled with enthusiasm for the Summer’s events:
“I’m delighted that Horse Guards will be centre stage. It will show London off in a way no other venue can. The magnificent skyline with Big Ben, Whitehall and the London Eye framed by the historic Horse Guards building itself, is without equal and effectively captures the beauty and majesty of London. We’re so fortunate to have the World’s greatest sporting event on our doorstep and look forward to welcoming the World to Great Britain.”