A conversation with Douglas Joss, March 2012

Monochrome picture of Prince Charles at the Stadium with Douglas Joss

This is Prince Charles laughing as he is leaving the games, in response to a comment I made to him about whether he would be competing this year. His detective in the middle was bit grumpy. I had my hand behind my back because I was holding one of those enormous early mobile phones, so he was very suspicious of that and wanted me to keep my hands out front where he could see them.

I remember being called into a meeting with the Chair of the District Council. He must have said something like, “The Americans have let us down. You’ve got three months to sort it out; 60 countries will be involved. Are you happy to take this on? You can forget out your main job for the while, just concentrate on this.

Aylesbury, 'Olympic town'

There was no real question of security back then. There were no guards or anything like that, just a few local police about. All the different teams just milled about in Aylesbury; you could tell when you heard them speaking that they were from all over the world; the place was full of wheel chairs for the fortnight; and some people were even getting about on little horizontal carts.” Douglas, games organiser

Aylebury District Council had declared that Aylesbury would be the ‘Olympic’ town and local businesses stepped up to the challenge. Otis Lifts paid for the daily newspaper, “Pursuit” that was published throughout the games. The Aylesbury department store, Narbeths, run by a Welshman, Mr Jones, organised a Welsh choir concert while Marks and Spencers organised a local fashion show, both as fundraisers for the games.

“Prior to the Games in 1984, there were no or very few dropped kerbs in Aylesbury and it was very difficult for people in wheelchairs to get around.  I wrote to the County Council and asked for dropped kerbs to be put in in time for the Games, and we got them as  a result!

Download a pdf of the conversation here