Ex Cadet Warrant Officer Claire Osborne fappeared in the Olympics Closing Ceremony in what was arguably the most entertaining feature – the skating nuns during Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. This is Claire’s account of how it came about.
“After moving down to London with my career and climbing Mt Toubkal for charity, I decided I needed a new challenge. A friend of mine was into roller skating and got me into it too; before I knew it I had joined the London Skate Speed Team and was doing skating marathons. Little did I know what this would bring!
I applied for tickets to the London 2012 Olympic Games and I was disappointed not to get any. I wanted to be involved in the biggest event my city would hold for many years and I wasn’t going to get the chance.
So, when my speed skating team was approached and asked if we wanted to audition to be a part of the Olympic Ceremony, I jumped at the chance. After many rounds of auditions it was finally confirmed that I would be part of the team in the Closing Ceremony. I was told I would need to attend 150 hours of rehearsals, alongside world class performers, creative directors and special effects technicians; it was then that I knew I could finally start getting excited.
We trained at the rehearsal site in Dagenham, choreographed by a two time winner of Dancing on Ice, a surreal experience as all sorts of characters and celebrities would appear without warning. I couldn’t say a thing about any of it to any of my friends or family, we all had to ‘save the surprise’ this was perhaps the most difficult part of all!
After all the hard work of rehearsals, the night finally came around. We watched all of the dress rehearsals before getting into our costumes and getting ready to go on. Waiting to go on the same stage as some of the biggest acts of the twentieth century wasn’t as nerve racking as I expected as thankfully there was too much fun going on backstage to think about anything.
Before I knew it I was skating on stage dressed as a nun in front of 80,000 people, with a TV audience on 26 million. Total concentration meant I didn’t really take in the atmosphere and it all seemed to be over in a flash and we were off again. I certainly breathed a deep sigh of relief that I hadn’t fallen and embarrassed myself in front of the masses!
It was an amazing experience, one I’ll never get the chance to repeat, just like many of my experiences during my 8 years as an Air Cadet, that are amongst the fondest memories I have.
During my time as a cadet I was fortunate enough to do scholarships in Hang-gliding, Gliding and Air Navigation, as well as countless camps, social and sporting activities, the Duke of Edinburgh Award and taking part in the RAF WARMA 50 mile road march. I played in the squadron band at places like RIAT and in Belgium. Even the drill came in useful as it helped me a lot during the rehearsals for the Closing Ceremony. The life skills I learned in the ATC taught me a lot about myself, developed my communication skills and how to work with others to get the best out of them. Those skills helped me enormously when I was competing against 1,000 other candidates for a place on my current employer’s graduate scheme and now in my role with them as an event organiser. To this day, I’m grateful for the experiences and fun I had as a cadet”.
Ex CWO Claire Osborne 1084 (Market Harborough) Squadron
Claire is on the back row right hand side in the group photo and in the centre of the on stage photo