A NATION swelled with pride as the Olympic Games burst into life over the weekend, and Woking was at the emotional heart of it.
Thousands lined the streets as the men’s and women’s road races thundered through the borough.
West Byfleet LI:VE was teeming with Union flags as Olympic fever took a firm grip on the village.
Red, white and blue clad fans roared on Team GB’s world champion Mark Cavendish and Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins, only for their medal hopes to fade on Saturday.To have something so special come through our tiny community is truly remarkable and something we should all cherish
But they were rewarded on Sunday when Lizzie Armitstead took silver in the women’s race to claim our first medal of the Games.
Robyn Dean, 18, and Jordon Styles, 19, from Georgelands, Ripley, (right) got into the Olympic spirit by painting their faces with Union flags before watching the race in White Rose Lane. Robyn said: “I got a picture of Mark Cavendish, I’m so proud. It’s nice to see the village coming together.”
Woking mayor Michael Smith, who cycled to Saturday’s festivities at West Byfleet recreation ground, said residents had done the borough proud with their incredible show of support.
He added: “We stood on Parvis Road and it was great to be involved in a once-in-a-lifetime event.
“The fans and crowd responded incredibly to the road race and it was an amazing coming together.
“It’s unfortunate we missed out in the men’s race but it was a huge bonus to get silver in the women’s event.”
There was an overwhelming sense of pride as pictures of our area’s leafy streets were beamed across the world.
James White, 87, of West Byfleet said: “To have something so special come through our tiny community is truly remarkable and something we should all cherish. I won’t see London host the Olympics again in my lifetime so this is something to savour.”
More than a million fans lined the course for the men’s and women’s race which whizzed by Weybridge, whooshed through West Byfleet, powered on past Pyrford and ripped through Ripley en route to the gruelling climbs of Box Hill before returning to London and the finish line on the Mall.
Anita and Ray French, Sue Gibbs and her daughters Jess and Ellie and their pal Natasha Newson had ringside seats outside Hedgecroft Cottages in Newark Lane, Ripley.
Natasha said: “It was exciting and so fast.” Sue added: “You could feel the breeze coming off them.”
Dutchmen Marcel Elzenaar, Meino Meines, Ed Noorman and Gerard Meines, from Assen, all took part in an impromptu Mexican wave with other spectators in Ripley once the athletes had passed.
Gerard said the village and crowds had generated a ‘very nice atmosphere’.
Little Sam Perei, of Wentworth Close, spent two days with a friend making an Olympic banner to spur on Team GB. He watched the race with his mum Lottie, his brother Harry and their pet dog Amber. Sam said: “I worked very hard on the sign.”
Residents at Boltons Close in Pyrford marked the event with a party.
Despite the huge number of people out celebrating in the streets, Surrey Police have reported just two arrests.
Chief superintendent Gavin Stephens said: “There were only two event-related arrests in Surrey over the whole weekend and this is testament to the fantastic spirit of the thousands of people who came out to cheer on the cyclists.”