Caister man drums up fans in Olympic opening ceremony

A SUPERMARKET cashier who was one of 1,000 drummers performing in Danny Boyle’s spectacular Olympic opening ceremony has described the experience as “fantastic” and “absolutely exhausting.”

John Gomez, 38, of Finisterre Rise, Caister, was back behind the counter at Asda this week after an exhilarating three weeks in the capital, culminating in his performance in front of 62,000 in the stadium and an estimated global audience of 1bn.

Last night, his wife Stephanie said the whole experience was “really hard going” but one which he had thoroughly enjoyed.

Mr Gomez, who grew up in the Gambia and always wanted to dance, drummed continuously for three hours on the night; his movements closely choreographed and taking instruction from a co-ordinator speaking via an earpiece.

Mrs Gomez watched the full dress rehearsal for real, enjoying the extraordinary live experience that the cameras struggled to convey.

And sitting in front of the TV at home for the live ceremony she was able to pick out her husband on several occasions. Mr Gomez has yet to watch the full ceremony described variously as a “jolly wonderful mess” and “slightly insane”.

He featured in the industrial revolution section of the show when the landscape was invaded by smoking towers and factories and also did some marshalling.

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He was given a certificate and was able to keep his flat cap and costume although the drum was too much to manage on the train home.

On Friday he did not leave the stadium until 3.30am and was soon back at work behind the till. Organisers hope he can make it for the closing ceremony on August 12 which will include the hand-over to the next host city, Rio de Janeiro.

But given his work commitments and the costs of travelling and staying in London, Mr Gomez may have to bow out.

Performers were held to a tough rehearsal schedule which kept many of them away from home and work for long periods.

Mr Gomez is a member of the African drumming group in Ormesby. He passed two Olympic auditions and was “over the moon” when he found out he was successful in March.