University staff set to be the ‘face of the Olympic Games’
Press release issued: 12 July 2012
Five members of staff from Bristol University are gearing up to help host the Olympic Games, giving up their time voluntarily to ensure the event runs smoothly as London hosts the ‘greatest show on earth’. They will be working as Games Makers for the duration of London 2012, helping visitors and athletes to enjoy their experience.
Staff from the University will be involved in all aspects of the Games, from physiotherapy to checking tickets and ensuring athletes have the correct accreditation.
Sue James, a receptionist in the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health, will be working in the Welcome Centre as part of the accreditation team to ensure all participants have all the necessary documentation, issuing passes and helping to resolve any issues.
The 54-year-old, from Failand in North Somerset, said: “The privilege of being selected to be part of the accreditation team was beyond anything I could have hoped for, especially as I will be based at the Olympic Village.
“We will be hosting the world and my ambition is to help deliver the greatest show on earth. The Olympics is famed for having an uplifting spirit that distinguishes it from other sporting events, so the emphasis is on us to have the passion, enthusiasm and commitment to deliver this.”
Penny Porter and Gael Barnes, who work as physiotherapists in the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health, will be using their skills to help the athletes.
Gael is going to be based in the Polyclinic – a mini hospital within the athletes’ village – where she will treat athletes who don’t have access to physiotherapy from their own country.
The 36-year-old, from St George in Bristol, will be camping in the capital for two weeks and has a 6.30am start each day.
She said: “I decided to get involved because I thought it was an unbelievable opportunity. The experience of working at a multisport event with so many knowledgeable and skilled physios is a once in a lifetime opportunity. To know that I can potentially assist an athlete to achieve their goal of competing at the Olympics gives me a huge sense of wellbeing.”
Penny, 34 and a former international swimmer and GB record holder, will be working as a physio in the Aquatics Centre to help the swimmers and water polo players.
She will be joined in the centre by Clare Brophy, a staff development manager in Bristol University’s Human Resources Department, who is working in event services.
Her duties involve checking tickets, ensuring people are in the correct seats, helping with queries and generally ensuring everything runs smoothly.
Clare, 50 and from Knowle, said: “I just love the Olympics and decided as soon as London was announced as the host that I wanted to take part in some capacity. It coincided with my 50th birthday so taking time out to volunteer is my treat to myself.
“There’s a great sense of community among the Games Makers, with people making friends on Facebook and sharing experiences. It’s going to be fantastic and I can’t wait for the Games to start now.”
A quarter of a million people applied to the Games Maker programme and a team of specially trained volunteer interviewers has been carrying out selection interviews since February 2011.
London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has recruited and trained 70,000 volunteers in total.
Jenny Fletcher, a massage therapist in the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health, is helping at the Paralympics where she’ll be based in the Polyclinic alongside physios, osteopaths and sports physicians to help any athletes who need treatment before or after they compete.
The 28-year-old, from Southville, said: “It will be a great opportunity to work with the highest level athletes and to be part of the London 2012 Olympics. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Games Makers have already been through intensive training, had a sneak preview of the Olympic venues and collected their uniform – which includes a jacket, polo shirt, trousers, trainers, socks and cap.
The Games Maker outfit was inspired by the historic Grenadier Guards uniform, with influences from the 1948 Games, Wimbledon and Henley Regatta.
Other London 2012 branded gear to be used by the Games Makers includes a watch, bag, water bottle and an all-important umbrella.
Aside from looking the part, the volunteers have been dubbed the ‘face of the Games’ – acting as ambassadors for Great Britain by being friendly and helpful to everyone.