Spectators hail 'awesome' ceremony

The Olympic Games opening ceremony was "magnificent" and is just the beginning of London's party, thrilled spectators said.

The Queen opened the Games following a stunning show which has been praised by those who travelled from all around the world to see it.

Bill Howells, 48, from Oklahoma in the US, decked out in Stars and Stripes-themed clothing, said: "The party is just beginning. It's definitely been one of the best opening ceremonies for an Olympics."

Tim Ramsey, 54, a soldier from Nova Scotia, Canada, said: "The opening ceremonies are always good and tonight the beginning was awesome. It created a whole lot of atmosphere for a whole lot of countries and everybody felt like they were at home. It's certainly put me in the mood for the Games."

Esa Parviainen, a 25-year-old cooling machine mechanic from Finland, said: "It was a magnificent show. I've got jet lag from travelling here but it's been wonderful. There were so many highlights. The musical shows were awesome. It's lived up to everything I could hope for."

Clinical psychologist Glen Bryan, 50, from south London, took part in the NHS segment of the ceremony as he played the part of a male nurse.

He said: "It was a phenomenal experience and one that will live long in the memory. The atmosphere was incredible and the noise inside the stadium was immense. It was great to be able to celebrate the NHS and highlight it to the whole world. I was performing with some close colleagues so it was great we all took part together."

Javier Gonzalez, 26, from Guadalajara, Mexico, said: "It was an amazing ceremony, the most spectacular show imaginable.

"It represented Britain in the best possible light and showed the rest of the world what a proud country this is. The section on the NHS was really thought-provoking."

The crowds flowed swiftly out of the stadium afterwards with no obvious delays as thousands of people descended on Stratford station. Train times were extended to allow for the late finishing time.