They say once the bug catches you, you fall in love with the process so much you want to volunteer your time for every event. For Gary Wade from Gatley, Stockport. This is definitely the truth.
Wade started as many, in a generic ballot for the 2012 olympics, but after a week extension of not hearing anything from the organisers after his wife (Carolyn) had heard back and gotten a position in the Paralympics, he had given up hope.
“I remember thinking ‘why not me?’ because I have skills from my day to day job that can be transferable to the volunteer environment”
Wade being a Border-force Agent, is used to controlling situations, got his call up two weeks later than his partner. The wait was surely worth it as well, as Gary had been given a position conducting the photographers inside of the Olympic stadium!
“I was delighted when I got the email let alone being put inside the Olympic stadium”
So came the Olympic games, and all the excitement of the country homed in on the Olympic park. Gary had travelled down to Manchester with his clothes and his tent to camp with the other volunteers in one of many locations provided which for Wade was a schools MUGA pitch near the park.
“I knew I would be sleeping rough but I didn’t mind as I knew so was everyone else and that it was just part of the experience”
The opening ceremony was a stroke of luck for Wade as he manage to be marshalling a section with very little people in and in fact took advantage of this even sitting down and enjoying the ceremony, getting the best free seat in the house.
“I was on my patrol and nothing was happening because everyone was so involved in what was going on in front of them so I took a seat and enjoyed it with them”
Across the time of the games Gary Wade found himself positioned two metres form the 100m start line, marshalling the photographers taking photos of the athletics inside the park. This meant when the big stars were lining up, Gary was in touching distance of names such as Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.
“It was like a game of spot Gary on TV” explained Carolyn “it was ridiculous how many times we saw him getting in the way of shot and popping up behind athletes”
“the best was when there was a slow motion replay of one of our own British athletes and suddenly Gary’s head pops up from behind the sprinter clear as day”
Since then Gary has had the volunteering bug, he can’t get enough volunteering with his wife for British Disability events in particularly para-swimming.
“I love it I love being in a united group of people providing assistance to professionals who are elitists are their sport”
One of the latest events Gary Wade has been to was Tonga v Cook Islands in Rugby League World Cup held in Leigh. As well as the recent British Para-swimming Championships in Manchester where he was organising the swimming into their heats and looking after them whilst they waited for their events.
“I am so much more confident in my role as a volunteer I understand that I am here to help and support” “the other workers and officials respect us as well for giving up our time so they can do their jobs too so I feel a sense of achievement and self satisfaction after the events are done”.
Since then Gary has been on the volunteering track, we’ll be sure to update with you with his travels in the near future.