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Volunteering far beyond the closing ceremony

5 June 2013


Medal-winning athletes wowed the crowds in 2012 but it was the volunteer Games Makers who made the London Olympics truly great. In this guest blog, Phil Madeley explains why he gave his time so willingly for last summer’s showpiece event and how his involvement has continued long after the closing ceremony.

A volunteer is defined as “a person who performs a service willingly and without pay”. Whilst the definition is easy, what is more surprising is how such a person is viewed, especially in connection to London 2012.

Games Maker Phil Madeley

Phil Madeley volunteered his time as a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympics

When I applied for and was accepted as a Games Maker, most people supported me but others questioned my reasoning, not understanding why someone would volunteer unpaid!

My reason for volunteering was simple. Living in London I wanted to support the Olympics in the best way I could and to pay back to the UK for many things that people had done for me.

I was prepared to do any job given to me, but had not expected the range of jobs being offered or the depth of experience among the Games Makers that I met.

My role took me to the print distribution team at the Royal Artillery Barracks and helping at the Paralympic Archery, during which time I met about 100 Games Makers undertaking all sorts of roles.

Although they varied in age and experience, each one was an individual with markedly different backgrounds but all had the same goal – to perform their task to the best of their ability while enjoying themselves.

The Olympics certainly inspired many people both on and off the sports field and this has been well documented. I was inspired, not only by the UK athletes, but the crowds of well wishers, the Games Makers and individuals like Paralympic archer, Matt Stutzman. The summer of 2012 got me interested in volunteering far beyond the closing ceremony on 9 September – but why?

The Olympics created a degree of purpose, a belief in community spirit and a sense of pride both in ourselves and in the way we treat others. It’s those feelings and beliefs that I would like to recapture in furthering my volunteering.

Join In contacted me recently asking if I could use some of my skills to further my volunteering and sports interest, and it took all of one minute to agree! Join In was formed to continue the work of the Olympics and it’s my belief that we can do this as long as we continue to believe in that sense of community and trust.

Philip Madeley is a Games Maker and Join In Trust, Local Leader

The Join In Trust received £1.5m from The Spirit of 2012 Trust  to build on the expertise and enthusiasm of the 2012 Games Makers.

A series of initiatives and events starting in July this year, one year on from the London 2012 opening ceremony, will encourage Games Makers, and others, to use the Join In website to identify and match up who needs their help volunteering in local communities across the UK.

Did you volunteer as a Games Maker for the London 2012 Olympics? If so, have you continued to volunteer like Philip has done? Leave your comments below or join the conversation on Twitter @biglotteryfund.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gary bowers permalink
    29 July 2013 6:36 pm

    I was prd at para too and loved the whole experience. I just wanted to be a part of 2012, it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. wife didnt understand but said ok….then wished she had done it too. since then, not too many jobs but i did the world rowing at eton dorney, another regatta there too, i also volunteered at a tough mudder on behalf of help4heroes, then another and yet one more this year.
    hard work? yes. fun? yes, rewarding? oh yes. just applied to help out at volleyball too.

    I don’t have a lot of free time so I’m quite selective about the events, but if someone really needs a hand…..I’m in….

    • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
      31 July 2013 1:19 pm

      Hi Gary,

      Thanks for your comment on the blog. It’s great to hear that you’ve got so involved in volunteering since you’re time helping during 2012! Long may it continue!

      Best wishes.

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