Indeed, at the risk of mixed seasonal messages, there's a pronounced spring in our steps with today's announcements.
Ruth Mackenzie's appointment as our Director of the Culture represents a profound investment in the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme and the level of ambition we all have for it. Her track record and stature in the UK cultural sector speaks for itself.
I'm equally thrilled that such an outstanding pool of talent is joining Ruth and the current LOCOG Culture team, who together can build on the existing acheivements to mount a cultural festival that will do justice to London and the UK's cultural sector.
As some of the media have pointed out, we've not rushed this appointment, but now the full package has been announced I hope its clear that we took out time in order to go for the best. And with just less than 1,000 days to go before the Games the timing feels absolutely right to up our game, and reinforce the team as we get into the detailed planning for 2012.
Although some of it may still be below the surface, many of the foundations are in place for Ruth to build on. All around the UK cultural projects inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are already taking shape or under way – and many more are in the planning stage. Over 150 'Inspire mark' projects have already joined the Cultural Olympiad in every nation and region of the UK – and in just about every artform.
Three of our flagship major projects have been announced and are up and running. Others will follow shortly. Over our first two 'Open Weekends' more than one million people have engaged in cultural events which look forward to London 2012.
In BP and BT we have two outstanding Premiere Partners for the Cultural Olympiad and recent investments by the Olympic Lottery Distributor and Legacy Trust UK mean that more than eighty million pounds is being invested in the programme. The Cultural Olympiad Board, chaired by Tony Hall, represents a powerhouse of the UK’s key cultural figures all backing Ruth and our augmented Cultural Team.
We can't wait for Ruth, Craig, Alex, Sir Brian and Martin to join us in a couple of weeks, but give it a couple of months and there'll be more to hear about the exciting plans that this formidable team will be bringing forward.
Mental note to self; in future wait until mid-January to set the best new year resolutions!