Sailor joined ceremony VIPs
LEADING Seaman Luke Manley, from Stoke in Plymouth, had his own "chance of a lifetime" as he was handed a golden ticket to the Olympic opening ceremony.
The 27-year-old, hailed the Games as "brilliant" and said the "fantastic atmosphere" at the opening ceremony was "the highlight of my career".
He said: "It was an amazing show – the fireworks at the end were incredible."
Luke, an electronics expert providing warfare intelligence to the command, was one of a handful of servicemen to be given a £2,012 executive ticket allowing him to sit with other VIPs. He said: "I was behind Denise Lewis. We'd gone to the Guildhall beforehand for champagne and canapes and met [London Mayor] Boris Johnson.
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"Meanwhile, while we were on duty on the ship working hard we still felt the buzz of the Olympics because we were close to the equestrian event at Greenwich and because we had so many VIP visitors."
Luke, who attended the former Estover Community College, will remain with HMS Ocean throughout the refit, which he said would please his fiance, singer Stephanie Underwood, and his family.
He said: "I'm going straight home after leaving the ship and will be spending time with family and friends.
"It's been a great tour and I didn't every think I would experience the Olympics, especially with the price of the tickets."