Thorpe St Andrew girl to star at Olympics

Today is a special day for six-year-old Anna Gardiner as she eagerly tears open her birthday presents at her Thorpe St Andrew home.

But the sight of the six-year-old blowing out her birthday candles will soon be dwarfed by a more momentous occasion - when she takes centre stage in the London 2012 Olympic games.

Anna is one of ten children from Norfolk who will be playing a special ambassadorial role in the games or the 2012 Paralympic Games by taking part in opening and closing ceremonies and welcoming athletes.

The 10 children who will be taking part in the games as part of the Children's Promise Olympic scheme set up 2004 during the games' bidding process.

The scheme saw the parents of any children born on December 20, 2004 register their child to become a games ambassador.

Nationally more than 700 children were registered and will be taking part in the games and could be seen on millions of television sets around the world.

Anna's parents, Emma and James, are counting down the days until their daughter takes centre stage in London.

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And her two sisters, Lydia, seven, and Rebecca, four, will also be cheering on Anna as she features in the games.

Mrs Gardiner, a 37-year-old house wife from Joyce Way, said: 'We are all so excited. It will be the chance of a lifetime for Anna and it is amazing to think she will be taking part.

'She is beginning to understand what the Olympics mean and knows the whole world will be watching.'

Anna and every one of the Children's Promise youngsters has received a birthday card from the organisers of the London 2012 games signed by running legend Sebastian Coe every year since 2004.

Lord Coe, chairman of the games organising committee, said: 'The children and their families are on a journey with us as we work towards the summer of 2012.

'I would like to wish all our Children's Promise participants a very happy sixth birthday, a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.'

Are you looking forward to the London 2012 Olympics or knwo someone who is taking part? Call reporter Anthony Carroll on 01493 847955.