I kicked off the day at the Ticketmaster call centre in Manchester. It's a fantastic operation and I met operators who will be assisting many of the 10 million ticket holders for our 26 Olympic and 20 Paralympic sports when tickets go on sale next spring.
Ticketmaster, our commercial partner, has extensive experience in dealing with ticketing for global events, and as their operation expands ready for our sales in the spring, this adds up to great service for the public and a positive economic story for the area.
Of course, the Commonwealth Games in 2002 showed what a talent the city has for putting on world-class sport. That's why it was great to visit the National Cycling Centre at the Manchester velodrome.
Taking my first ever ride on one of the track cycles that Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and so many more rode to such distinction in Beijing, it was an exhilarating experience circling the famous track.
Day in, day out, this world-class venue serves elite athletes that lead the world, as well as the young riders I witnessed just getting into the sport. No wonder British Cycling is the envy of the cycling world, and it demonstrates the potential legacy of the fantastic new Velodrome on the Olympic Park, which will open up opportunities like this to so many more people.
I then hotfooted it to another venue used for the Commonwealth Games – the home of Manchester City at Eastlands. Meeting the first North West graduates of the London 2012-inspired Personal Best programme, I was impressed yet again by the legacy brought about by the project.
All Personal Best graduates are guaranteed an interview for our London 2012 Games Maker volunteer programme, and the enthusiasm and stories I heard today show what a quality pool of talent the UK has to draw upon in this vital part of Games delivery. I encouraged the graduates to sign up because we want Games Makers to be drawn from across all nations and regions of the UK – and I hope you will apply too
So ended another great day on our journey to 2012. Manchester and the North West provided further proof that there’s excitement about the Games all around the country, so congratulations to all involved.