South Yorkshire’s starring role in Olympic spectacle

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  Denise Lewis (L) and Vinnie Ennis, father of Jessica Ennis of Team GB visit the P&G Nearest and Dearest Zone in Team GB House on July 27, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Cunningham/Getty Images for P&G)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Denise Lewis (L) and Vinnie Ennis, father of Jessica Ennis of Team GB visit the P&G Nearest and Dearest Zone in Team GB House on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Cunningham/Getty Images for P&G)
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JESS Ennis’ dad Vinnie shares a joke with Denise Lewis OBE - as stars from South Yorkshire played a prominent role in making the Olympics opening ceremony the greatest spectacle on earth.

Sheffield band the Arctic Monkeys performed, city son Lord Coe gave a speech as chairman of London 2012, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band from Barnsley joined in Danny Boyle’s magical interpretation of Britain’s industrial past, and Doncaster taekwando star Sarah Stevenson MBE took the Olympic oath on behalf of all the athletes, watched by a worldwide TV audience of one billion.

Doncaster war hero Ben Parkinson - Britain’s most seriously-injured serviceman to survive - also featured, as his image flashed up on screens showing torchbearers carrying the Olympic flame on its route to London.

But, though Vinnie was there, daughter Jess missed out - deciding instead to conserve energy for the competition ahead.

And Sheffield Olympian Peter Elliott, a silver medal winner in Seoul in 1988, was snubbed, after an oversight left him off the invitation list.

Organisers said they did not have Elliott’s address, though the 1,500m runner has lived in the same house in Sheffield for 11 years.

Now regional director for the North at the English Institute of Sport in Attercliffe, the 49-year-old was invited belatedly last week - but is understood to have been too angry to accept.