Why did you want to be involved in London 2012 as a volunteer?

I used to work for the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) more commonly known as the National Blood Service, as a Registered Nurse. When the Olympics came to this country the anti-doping agency asked NHSBT to put out an e-mail to all staff who worked on the blood collection teams to see if they wanted to volunteer with the anti-doping teams around the UK taking blood samples from athletes. We were trained, used to taking samples from a cross selection of the population; cleared to work in the UK; used to working to policies and procedures and had relevant the references. We still had to go through the selection process to work as volunteers, for example, interviews and training in taking samples in accordance with the anti-doping agency policies and procedures.

I put my name forward for the London venues as I had done my nurse training in the east end of London and worked there between 1979 and 1985. Also, I had friends I could stay with in Forest Gate, so it was ideal to revisit old ‘stomping grounds’. At the interview and selection process I volunteered for the Paralympic games as these were mainly in September. I would be required to take annual leave for two weeks and because this was out of the main holiday season I could take time off work. I was fortunate to get the offer to work at the Olympic park in Stratford, and I was allocated to work in the main stadium, or to be specific, under it!

How was the atmosphere at the events you volunteered at?

The atmosphere was amazing around the park, when I wasn’t in the anti-doping rooms I was volunteering around the park - showing folk where venues were, where the gates were to the main stadium and being a tourist myself. Able-bodied people and those with disabilities mixed wonderfully together, sadly you don’t see that so much these days. I’ve never seen so much co-operation between people. A wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, even on Stratford station, waiting to get on trains or the tube - no pushing, shoving or moaning. 

In the actual anti-doping rooms, it varied from shift to shift. It got very busy and fraught at times, especially with the mix of staff, athletes waiting to go on to the field, or coming off it, and they had to be tested both before and after they competed.  My role expanded to viewing the waiting areas, escorting the athletes to and from the field, being a witness to the tests and samples being taken, liaising with the coaches, etc. There were a lot of volunteers and surprisingly a lot of paid staff which made sense.

What sticks out in your mind as a ‘best moment’?

I have no regrets about volunteering at 2012, it was a memorable and enjoyable experience overall. I enjoyed being in London both volunteering and being a tourist around my shifts over the two weeks there.

My ‘best moment’ was attending the practice run for the opening ceremony for the main Olympic games, as opposed to the opening ceremony for the Paralympic games - I have over 100 photos from this!

Other moments were attending the actual events as a spectator when not on duty. The crowds were amazing, supporting not just the UK teams but other countries as well, or just cheering anyone taking part.

The general atmosphere in the park - the police and the army posing for photos with visitors. Visitors, volunteers, and athletes posing together for photos and selfies and how smoothly everything went.

More stories from London 2012 can be found here