Beckham takes torch on the Thames

Former England captain David Beckham played a special part in the opening ceremony as he brought the Olympic torch down the River Thames by speedboat.

Beckham, whose role in the event had been kept a closely-guarded secret, was shown steering a boat with young Arsenal women’s footballer Jade Bailey.

The boat brought the torch from central London towards the stadium in east London, past Tower Bridge.

The footballers’ appearance was greeted by huge cheers from the crowds.

Beckham, who played a role in London’s Olympic bid, missed out on a place in the Team GB football squad.

A spokesman for Games organiser Locog said: “Becks drove the boat down the river live. A bit of the close-up was pre-shot but he drove it live.”

Arsenal Ladies team took to Twitter to say: “Arsenal’s young talent Jade Bailey has a central role in carrying the torch with David Beckham in the london2012 OpeningCeremony.”

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