Melvyn - our man at the Games
24 July 2012
The 2012 Olympics and Paralympics are upon us after so many years of anticipation. It is a huge logistics operation involving 80,000 volunteers and our man, Calibre’s digital studio engineer, Melvyn Toms, is one of them.
Melvyn and his wife Angela, who are keen cyclists, were among 250,000 applicants and were delighted when they received confirmation they had been successful. They decided to apply to help at the Paralympics allowing them to bid for tickets for the preceding Olympic events. People indicated which of 5 areas they would be interested in volunteering for. Those with medical and technical skills could elect to be considered for these specialist jobs. Although with his studio engineering background Melvyn could have volunteered in this area, he and Angela decided that they would like to be part of the general Events Services Team.
This involves 3 briefing meetings. The first was at Wembley Arena with 5,000 other volunteers. Melvyn describes this as a morale boosting overview event with sports presenter John Inverdale and comedian Eddie Izzard putting the volunteers at their ease. Here, it was explained to the volunteers what was expected of them including arduous 10 hour days.
The second event was held in Hackney where people were taught how to deal with different potential situations (e.g. medical emergencies etc., ) and, if necessary, to refer up to relevant officials. The third briefing will take place just ahead of the Paralympic Games. Melvyn will be initially working at the rowing events at Dorney Lake in Berkshire directing people around the venue and, most importantly, to the nearest loos. He plans to cycle 6 miles from a friend’s house arriving bright and early at 5.30am before the public arrives. As there aren’t any changing facilities for volunteers he will be wending his way through the Berkshire lanes in full official outfit. The distinctive deep purple tunic with poppy red cuffs, collars and piping has been influenced by the uniform of the Grenadier Guards and makes the ‘Games Makers’ visible to members of the public.
Meanwhile Angela will be on duty at the ExCel centre in London covering the judo/netball and boccia competitions but, in the true Toms’ spirit, will be cycling the 10 miles from a camping site daily.
However, the family won’t be missing out on actually watching sport. During the first week of the Olympics they have tickets for many events including the men’s and women’s road race (cycling), fencing and hockey.
We think Melvyn and Angela deserve gold medals all of their own.