Leeds Olympic volunteers are pure gold

From left to right; Rebecca Gallantree, Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Ann Castle, Inderjit Sandha, Anke Otto, Joshua Corbett, Adina James, Julie Corbett-Hirst, and Louise Iontton at the front

Local people who gave up their own time to help make Olympic events taking place in Leeds a big success were thanked at a civic reception this week.

Around 100 local ‘sportmakers’ attended the reception, which was hosted by Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle, and also featured a guest appearance from Team GB diver Rebecca Gallantree, who trains at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds, and took part in London 2012.

Leeds City Council, the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University recruited a 400 strong volunteer workforce to support teams of athletes from China, Netherlands and Canada throughout their stays in Leeds. They also played a key role in the success of the Olympic Torch relay as it passed through Leeds and helped run a series of Olympic-themed cultural events that were held in the city.

The volunteers took on a wide variety of roles between April and September 2012 and played a really important part in bringing the spirit of the Games to Leeds. The torch ambassadors generated excitement and enthusiasm for the torchbearers and the general public, whilst also advising pedestrians and car drivers about the relay. Volunteers at the training camp venues at the University of Leeds, John Charles Centre for Sport, Leeds Metropolitan University, Bradford College and Wakefield Sport Club supported the teams and helped to deliver the best possible training experience for each of them.

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle said:

“2012 has been an amazing year for sport, and a fantastic showcase for community spirit in Leeds.

“It gives me enormous pleasure to thank our 400 plus volunteers for their amazing enthusiasm and the outstanding contribution they made to making the torch relay, the training camps and all the cultural events that were held in the city run so smoothly.

“I know that all of our local ‘gamemakers’ got a great deal of pleasure and personal satisfaction from being part of this exciting occasion, and I hope that that will encourage them to continue to volunteer in the future.”

Rebecca Gallantree, Team GB diver, who trains at John Charles Centre for Sport said:

“One of my top memories from this amazing year is being at the Olympic Torch Relay event at John Charles Centre for Sport in June. I train there every day of the year and feeling the excitement and enthusiasm from the crowds there made it really sink in that I was going to be competing in front of a home crowd at the Olympics.

“The local torch ambassadors were a key part of getting people fired up that day, and all of the volunteers that I met in Leeds and at the Games were absolutely thrilled to be part of the occasion. It really isn’t an underestimation to say that the Games wouldn’t have been the huge success that they were without their fantastic contribution.”

Leeds City Council is keen to highlight the valuable contribution that volunteering made to the success of the summer of sport in Leeds, and to encourage people to consider volunteering in the future. There are hundreds of organisations in the city that need help and support, and in return can offer exciting opportunities in all walks of life. To find out more please contact Volunteer Centre Leeds, City Centre One Stop, 2 Great George Street, Leeds, LS2 8BA or phone 0113 297 7920, email volunteering@val.org.uk or visit the Leeds page on www.do-it.org.uk


For media enquiries, please contact;

Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk