It's all over. That's it - London 2012 has officially ended. The torch was turned out by two of Paralympic GB's teenage stars, Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock and now Great Britain must deal with post Olympic blues. No more events on the tele, no more news of gold medals. We have to go back to watching boring Daytime TV, which will be even worse than it is usually now with no Great Britain team to back. What a summer of British Sport, and congratulations to all the athletes! I have been on my own incredible journey, one which I will never forget - one which started around two years ago.
When I heard an army of volunteers, named 'Gamesmakers' by LOGOC, I jumped at the chance to apply. I thought "why not?" A Olympics was only going to come round probably once in my lifetime in my home country, and I wanted to be a part of it all. Anyone who knows me will know I love Sport, and the Olympics in Beijing a couple of years before was inspirational and to know have it in London, in the United Kingdom, was hugely exciting for me. So I didn't hesitate filling out the application form online and patiently (well maybe not so quite) waited to hear back.
A YEAR later, I eventually got an email saying I had an interview. Result! An interview at ExCeL followed and I was determined to prove to my interviewer that I was passionate enough to be a Gamesmaker. It paid off - a couple of months later, I got the news I had become a Gamesmaker at the Paralympic Games. WOW.
My job was a Transport team member at the Paralympic Family Hotels; these hotels were Grange St Pauls and Grange City. I soon found out through role-specific training and venue training what exactly I would be doing; helping clients and drivers out with the BMV fleet of cars used to ferry people to and from the two hotels. I couldn't wait to start, and getting my uniform was pretty good - I love the shoes in particular!
The big day arrived and my first shift was at Grange City, which I found is considerably smaller than Grange St Pauls - and I loved it. I worked with some lovely Gamesmakers, all of us having a laugh and getting on so well as we worked, helping the cars and then with the coach service used for the Opening Ceremony. We were also lucky enough to go watch the Paralympic torch relay as it passed Tower Hill on our break; I had missed the Olympic relay so to be able to see the Paralympic torch relay was great! I met some very interesting clients too from all different countries and as I soon found out, pin-collecting from this countries became very addictive.
I had six shifts in total, and I loved every minute of it. Yes it did involve standing around a lot, but I was working every day with great people and meeting equally as great clients. I had a conversation with a IPC member about KFC one day, then a hug from the Sports Minister from Azerbaijan the next! Another day, Dame Kelly Holmes came out of the hotel and said "good afternoon" to all us Gamesmakers outside; it's not every day you say "hiya!" to an Olympic legend! I also managed to speak to the woman who gave Richard Whitehead his 200m medal in the Athletics, and she praised London and both the Olympics and Paralympics very highly; in fact, every client I met and had a little chat with said the exact same. London had been a hit.
We all agreed - as much as we would have loved to have been along the mall, this was ten times better.
To put it simply, I loved the whole experience - it is one I'll never ever forget. To me, the best part of it all was meeting and working with some truly fantastic people. And to have finished it all with a fantastic day at the Parade was amazing. I am so glad I decided to register all those months ago, and I am so so proud of London and both of the Great Britain teams - you have inspired us all and have done the country so proud. We salute you all! I'm so proud to say I was a part of London 2012, and I am so proud to say I was a Gamesmaker.