Hertfordshire has marked the official start of the Olympic Games with a synchronised bell ringing celebration...
Across the UK, bells have rung out, including church bells which joined the 'bongs' of Big Ben for three minutes.
In Welwyn St Mary's Church took part in 'All the Bells' at 8:12am with a gathering of 200 people in the churchyard ringing a variety of bells, including fire bells, last orders bells, sleigh bells, bicycle bells, and even a gong from the country Java.
They were led by the church's own bells, all eight of which are located in St Mary's tower.
BELOW: Watch the 'All the Bells' event at Welwyn's St Mary's...
The national event kicked off a day of celebrations, culminating in the Queen officially opening the games at a flashy opening ceremony this evening.
Meanwhile a woman from Sawbridgeworth is preparing to perform in that ceremony tonight.
Ware Operatic Society member Alex Alma got chosen from among 15,000 applications for a role in the secretive performance with a theme that will celebrate the British countryside.
(ABOVE: Alex Alma, 54, from Sawbridgeworth, is taking part in the opening ceremony)
The 54 year old told JACKfm: "Ever since I saw Beijing's opening ceremony I've wanted to take part in one. Even before that. I'm used to being on a theatre stage with 400 people in front of me.
"I can cope with that, but there are going to be upwards of 60,000 people in the Olympics stadium and over a billion people watching live on television as well. Nothing can prepare you for that kind of pressure."
Special needs school Pinewood, in Ware, is preparing to send a select few students to the opening ceremony tonight. They're one of 200 UK schools chosen to represent some of the Olympics small nations competitors.
Staff at the school have been delivering an education programme on sports and the Olympics. Over the last few weeks the students have been learning about their assigned country, Guatemala, and they've even painted the country's flag on to the banner which they will show off tonight as they line the walkway linking the Olympic Village with the Olympic Stadium.
(ABOVE: The lucky Pinewood school students with JACKfm's Bryan Rutherford)
As Hertfordshire braces itself for 9000 Olympic spectators to pass through the county this weekend, Lee Valley White Water Centre is preparing to host its first events this Sunday.
County Councillor Derrick Ashley, Chair of the Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners Partnership, told JACKfm: "This is such an exciting time for the country and for Hertfordshire in particular. We have all waited a long time for this once in a lifetime event and it promises to be worth the wait.
"Hertfordshire businesses have benefited from £38m worth of Olympic contracts. Hopefully the connections being made now will lead to more business in the future, bringing an additional boost to the county’s economy.
”Although we’re heavily involved in the Olympics, it remains business as usual for the county council and I’d like to provide reassurance that our other services will not be affected by the Games.”
Agencies across the Hertfordshire have been working closely together to ensure the Lee Valley event will go off without a serious hitch and with safety said to be a top priority for the 5 day competition's spectators.
Director of Community Protection and Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher told JACKfm: "We have been training with our emergency service colleagues in the Police and health service and have tried and tested arrangements in place to deal with any incident, large or small.
"A lot of work is still going on in the background and we will have officers in and around the Lee Valley White Water Centre, making sure that everything operates as it should to ensure people can enjoy this one-off International sporting event."
(BELOW: Canoe slalom althletes have described Lee Valley's course as "very difficult")