Golden memories for Saffron Walden’s Olympics Games Makers

FRESH from driving around IOC dignitaries, helping at the Olympic Stadium and meeting Prime Minister David Cameron no less, the Games Makers of Uttlesford have returned from their time in the global spotlight to share their fondest memories of the greatest sporting spectacle on Earth.

Rising from as early as 5am and working till as late as half past eleven at night – the keen volunteers have an abundance of heart-warming experiences, and, as Lord Coe said in his speech at the closing ceremony, can say “I made London 2012”.

Some were stationed at the Excel Arena in London Docklands, which played host to seven sports, including boxing, table tennis, fencing and taekwondo among others, while others called the Olympic Stadium home for two weeks.

Lucy Bullen-Smith, of Jacksons Lane, Great Chesterford, saw gold medallists Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford competing.

She was tasked with helping people find their seats at the Olympic Stadium.

“I was overwhelmed by how people reacted to us – everyone was so friendly and in such great spirits. The stadium was awe-inspiring and the noise of the crowd deafening,” she said.

Director of Saffron Screen, Julie Kendall, was in charge of staff welfare at the Excel Arena and will also be helping out at the Paralympics.

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“The place was absolutely jam-packed with people every day,” Julie said. “I loved the way everybody came together to make it work because people were so desperate for the Games to be successful.

“The police and Army also worked as one big team and I think they really enjoyed themselves too. They were very approachable and friendly and always keen to chat to people.”

Julie got to see the first gold medallist in women’s boxing, Nicola Adams, in action, and met David Cameron when he came in to meet the volunteers.

Other Games Makers from the area included Tom Kerchiss, of Gibson Close, Saffron Walden, who drove around IOC members and high-ranking officials in Park Lane, Martyn Linwood, of Saffron Court, who was also stationed at the Excel, and Lucy’s husband, Paul, a driver in the Olympic Park.

Natalie Emuss, of Peggy’s Walk, Littlebury, was a chaperone for the children who performed at the opening ceremony, so she was employed rather than a volunteer, while Peter Stanley, of Granta Close, Great Chesterford, spent time at the Lee Valley White Water Centre and Hadleigh Farm.

He said he was lucky enough to be there when Britain claimed a historic 1-2 in the men’s double canoe event.

The Games Makers came in for high praise for making London 2012 a success, and IOC president Jacques Rogge summed up their involvement when at the closing ceremony he said: “We will never forget the smiles, the kindness and the support of the wonderful volunteers, the much-needed heroes of these Games.”