The London Olympics started ten years ago this week and a cyclist from Loughton told us of his part in the "absolutely spectacular" opening ceremony.

A father-of-four who took part in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games has described his experience.

Paul Bird, 56, a property services director from The Greens Close in Loughton, was one of the cyclists portraying the doves of peace that emerged while the Arctic Monkeys sung a cover of the Beatles song Come Together.

Organisers emailed his cycling club, Glendene in Chelmsford, to offer places at the ceremony and the keen cyclist, who also coaches at the Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club, jumped at the chance.

Speaking from the canoe slalom near Waltham Abbey, where he is a spectator, he said: "It was absolutely spectacular. I got out there and thought 'I'm part of it'.

"I had to be at the park's Eton Manor gates by 3pm and we ran through the whole process.

"We were called at 10.30pm and did the walk from Eton Manor to the stadium.

"It was an awesome experience with 10,000 cast members coming back from the stadium towards you and we were giving each other high-fives.

"We went underneath the podium area to line up in our formation and our bikes were hooked up with harnesses.

"Bending forward and backwards gave the movement of the wings flapping, so it was quite difficult riding a bike and ducking your head up and down.

"I was towards the tail end of one half of the group and we went out past the Queen. I just wanted to savour every second.

"After we got off stage, we were under the stadium and I went back to the podium level and watched the finish.

"I got back home at 2.30am and was up at 6am to go to The Mall to watch the road race.

"My wife, Sharon, organised an opening ceremony party. She and my youngest son, Simon, who's 12, saw one of the three dress rehearsals.

"My other sons, Laurence, 23, Edward, 18 and Andrew, 15, watched on TV.

"We all love sport and we're going to soak up the Olympic atmosphere."