An Olympic-sized obsession with the Games led one nurse to help bring the greatest show on earth to life.
Kate Harries hopes some 250 hours of rain-soaked rehearsals will help bring artistic director Danny Boyle’s British extravaganza to one billion people around the world.
The 30-year-old palliative care nurse, who says her fiance has become an Olympic widower, has been taking unpaid leave from her job to help put the final touches to the £27 million opening ceremony with more than 10,000 volunteers.
“I couldn’t let the Olympics go by in London without being part of it,” Miss Harries said.
“I absolutely love it, to the verge of being obsessed with it.
“I will read any article about it, I’ve watched every single BBC programme about it, the whole works.”
Miss Harries, who was born in Aberystwyth, mid Wales, and lives in Maida Vale, west London, said that during the Beijing Olympics in 2008 she used to wake up two hours before her 7am hospital shift to watch the Games.
“It’s just the sheer sense of excitement and joy,” she said.
“I wanted to be part of it, part of history.”
Miss Harries, a props volunteer for the Games’ ceremonies, said 250 hours of rehearsals had been “very wet, very British and very soggy”.
“The latest must-have fashion accessory in the stadium has been a poncho,” she said.
“But I don’t think it could possibly dampen the enthusiasm.
“We’ve spent so many rehearsals in the rain now we’re at home with a soggy ceremony.”
Miss Harries, who coincidentally moved to London just two days after it was named as the host city for 2012, added that she hoped all the rehearsal sessions of up to 12 hours each would help to make the ceremony a success.
She admitted her Olympic commitment has left fiance Andrew Morgan, 33, feeling like an “Olympic widower”, but added: “I couldn’t possibly not do it.”
Miss Harries, who works at University College London Hospital (UCHL) in central London, said her fiance, family and employer were all “incredibly supportive”.