A COMMUNITY stalwart from Buckhurst Hill has been appointed an Olympic Ambassador.
Lord Sebastian Coe selected Ivan Corea for the honour because of his continued and vocal support for London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
In his new role, Mr Corea of Buckhurst Way, is encouraging people to the Back the Bid'.
Mr Corea has mobilised support through a variety of channels, including the UK Autism Awareness Campaign, and Stratford's Dream Harvest Group - where he is managing director.
Mr Corea says the post was an exciting opportunity to encourage people of all ethnicities to back the bid.
He said: "I'm delighted to accept this appointment, the Dream Harvest Group has been hugely involved in backing the bid right from the very start. We will continue to support the London 2012 bid, particularly in reaching out to minority ethnic communities.
"We're very excited about the bid; London is a great city, a city of many cultures, languages and communities. The Olympic Games will enhance this kaleidoscope of peoples - let us celebrate this diversity."
Mr Corea feels this is a tremendous opportunity for Britain's disability community to be involved as well. There are 15,000 autistic children from ethnic minorities in the London area alone.
He added: "We could well win the bid - people are talking about Paris - but Paris could fall at the last hurdle. We have a nine-year-old son with autism and we would love to take him to the Olympics and Paralympics in London."
Should London win the bid Mr Corea plans to use his position to ensure that local people benefit from the economic boost the games will bring.
He will campaign for local contractors to be given Olympic contracts providing employment for the area.
Ilford North MP Linda Perham said: "He has worked tirelessly in promoting the London 2012 bid from the very start - his call to back the bid has been heard far and wide in all communities, including minority ethnic communities."