Olympic and Paralympic Legacy

After the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games and the victory parade on Monday, we now have a chance to reflect on London 2012.

The largest organisational project on Earth was a triumph.  Coverage all over the world has referred to this year's Games as the best ever.

The atmosphere generated was fantastic.  I was lucky enough to attend a Paralympic athletics event, and I was struck by the enthusiasm of the crowd and their vocal support, not just for the British competitors, but for everybody taking part.

The Games have really brought the nation together, typified by the wonderful volunteer ‘Games Makers'.  Dressed in vibrant purple and pink they have been a fixture all over the city, on tubes and buses as well as at the venues.

I was proud that a member of my staff volunteered.  We are no strangers to volunteering in West Sussex, but I hope that this part of the legacy will endure more widely.

Indeed, the challenge now is to keep alive the spirit and success that the Games have brought to ensure that they truly do ‘inspire a generation'.

As well as 10,000 new houses and the wholesale regeneration of a large part of East London, the legacy will provide a huge boost for school sport.

The School Games will continue to expand with Prince Harry as their new President, and £150 million is being invested in community sport.

In addition, £8 million has been pledged by Sport England for grassroots projects that encourage disabled sport.

As well as the sporting legacy, the GREAT campaign and the British Business Embassy secured a huge number of deals to support UK businesses.  I heard very good feedback from business people about the events.

The GREAT programme will now be expanded with the aim of getting 40 million people to holiday in the UK by 2020.  Of course, such tourism is important for West Sussex.

In fact, it's estimated that £13 billion of business benefits will flow from the Games.

The Prime Minister said on Monday that "for countries to succeed in this competitive and difficult world, you need to have confidence."  The Games were a timely reminder at an otherwise difficult time that Britain can take on huge challenges and win.

Christopher N Howarth