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Source: www.guardian.co.tt
Story by Tom Degun

Wenlock (left) and Mandeville (right) the two London 2012 Mascots.Wenlock and Mandeville outside the London 2012 shopMay 19 - London 2012 Olympic mascot Wenlock and Paralympic mascot Mandeville took time out of their busy schedule to today celebrate their first birthday.

The mascots enjoyed a special birthday party at John Lewis Oxford Street. The party was also attended by London 2012 table tennis hopeful Hannah Hicks and children from Kilburn Park Foundation School, who are part of the Get Set network, the official London 2012 education programme.

"It's our birthday today!" said Wenlock on his Facebook page.

"We're a whole year old, so exciting."

Mandeville added on his Facebook page: "We're one today!"

"Can hardly believe it!

"Wenlock might get a slice of the cake... if very lucky!"

The dynamic duo have had a busy year on their journeys across the UK, meeting young people and inspiring them to choose sport as they head towards the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The mascots have attended more than 200 events across the UK in the past year, many at schools in the London 2012 education programme 'Get Set', taking part in schools sports days and special Olympic and Paralympic related assemblies.

"Our mascots were designed for kids and we're delighted that they love Wenlock and Mandeville and are interacting with them in so many ways," said London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.

"The London 2012 mascots are on a journey across the UK inspiring young people to choose sport and engage with the Olympic and Paralympic Games in a fun and exciting way."

Wenlock and Mandeville have been popular features at London 2012 sponsor events such as Lloyds TSB National Sport Week, the BT Paralympic World Cup and through Deloitte's school programme.

They also recently celebrated the Royal Wedding by dressing up as a Beefeater and Queen's Guard in a special mascot hunt around London.

In addition, the pair have proved an online hit with their first two mascot animated films, based on a story by children's author Michael Morpurgo, having been viewed over a million times on the mascot website http://www.london2012.com/mascots and http://www.youtube.com/london2012.

Over 20,000 people follow the mascots via Facebook and Twitter and fans of Wenlock and Mandeville are also engaging with digital versions of the mascots with new innovative and interactive computer games.

A mascot customiser that allows you to create your own versions of Wenlock and Mandeville with different clothes and sports equipment has proved particularly popular and nearly 10,000 versions have been customised for the online gallery since the launch in March.

The colourful characters are also popular on the high street, helping to contribute to the £80 million to be raised from merchandise and licensing to fund the staging of the Games.

The mascots are available as soft toys, stationery, clothing, key rings, pin badges, posters, collectable figurines, decorative ornaments, bags, mugs, towels and bedding from the online shop at London2012.com, the London 2012 Shops at St Pancras International, Paddington Station, Heathrow Terminal 5 and official retailers including John Lewis, Next and Sainsbury's.

More mascot products will be released between now and Games time, when there could be up to 10,000 London 2012 products available.

The launch of the mascots in May last year saw the Get Set website record a new traffic record and more than 50,000 teachers and students have viewed the Get Set website pages featuring the mascots since they launched.

More than 2,500 schools from every nation and region in the UK entered a recent art and design competition, Make Your Mascot, which will see Wenlock and Mandeville visit the sports days of winning schools throughout this summer.

Contact the writer of this story at tom.degun@insidethegames.biz.