FROM greeting spectators from all over the globe to operating as an unofficial photographer for families wanting keepsake snaps of their visit to the London 2012 Olympics, games volunteer Jillian Malkin says it was the experience of a lifetime.
The pensions agency worker, from Kingsland Avenue in Selkirk, was one of 70,000 “games makers” selected to fulfil a variety of roles during the two weeks of sporting action.
As part of what was termed the event services team in the Olympic Park, Jillian and her fellow volunteers were known as the face of the Games.
“Our role involved scanning tickets at the entry gates for spectators and hosting in one of the sectors of the park; Orbit Circus, World Square, Britannia Row and the Street Market,” Jillian said.
“This involved meeting and greeting spectators, ready to answer any questions they had, point them in the right direction for their venue, nearest drinking water point, bathrooms etc.
“One of the unofficial parts of the job turned out to be becoming a professional photographer and handling a variety of very expensive cameras, so that each visitor had the opportunity to capture a piece of history with their whole family at the park.
“I met people from all countries and walks of life, and they were all very grateful and pleased with the service that games makers provided.”
During her fortnight official stint, Jillian had two days off.
“A lot of fun was had during the working day – outdoor synchronised swimming with the Coca Cola Future Flames, rhythmic gymnastics using loo rolls, and not forgetting twister on the spotty bridge, to name a few of the mad things we got up to to entertain the crowds.
“A few celebrities I spotted during my time included Bradley Wiggins whizzing past in a golf buggy, radio presenter Chris Evans, bronze team and individual silver medallist gymnast Louis Smith scooting past me during the athletes’ parade on closing ceremony night, Jake Humphrey, Robbie Savage, Sir Chris Hoy, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and some guy called Lord Seb Coe, who tapped me on the shoulder and thanked me for doing a great job!
“Though I didn’t get into the stadium or see any sport – the shifts were long, my legs and knees ached from being on my feet all day and midgies loved my fresh Scottish blood – I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.
“It’s a cliché, but I really did have the time of my life!”