July 23 2014 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Bus have-a-go hero Tim Smits said he was “overwhelmed and a little teary” watching Sunday’s Olympics closing ceremony – which he was given tickets to after being stabbed protecting passengers from thugs.
Tim, 33, was knifed twice and hospitalised last year after standing up to a gang who were abusing elderly women on a bus.
Mr Smits was nominated by the Gazette for Islington Council’s Community Hero scheme, which gave Olympic tickets to 45 residents who had made the borough a better place, and scooped a seat for the closing ceremony on Sunday.
He said: “I’m still recovering from it to be honest – it was absolutely incredible. I have never been to anything like it in my life, it was so good.
“I was still buzzing when I came home afterwards, so I watched some of it back to see what it was like on TV and it really didn’t do it justice.
“It is seriously next-level stuff – the choreography and the technology were fantastic.”
He added: “My favourite part was the opening singer [Emeli Sandé]. She was singing acapella and her voice coupled with the visuals of the amazing feats by all the athletes blew me away.
“While she was singing I started off thinking how I got to be sitting there and it was a pretty overwhelming feeling – I got quite teary.”
Australian-born Mr Smits feels the British put on a show to remember.
“London should be very proud of the way the Games have gone, I reckon. Everything has been done well and the whole country got behind the athletes.
“Having 80,000 people screaming for you to win must help you on the back straight.
“With the funding and the infrastructure, everything is in place for exciting times for Britain’s competitors – I think they will get better.
“I have had a ball watching the Olympics over the last two weeks and Sunday night just topped it off.”
Mr Smits sat next to another Gazette-nominated hero, Tony Shepherd, 49.
He won a ticket after trying to rescue three-year-old Brandon Frederick from a burning building in Coleman Fields last year.
He broke a window to try to get the boy out but the blaze was too fierce for him to go inside.
Instead he directed firefighters to where Brandon was.