London 2012: “Thank you to all the volunteers”
The volunteers at the Olympic and Paralympic Games have been among the most widely praised aspect of London 2012, and appreciation was shown when they got the biggest cheer during the closing ceremony of the Paralympics.
The audience in the Olympic Stadium gave the 10,000 Games Makers, as they are known, a standing ovation and a round of applause that went on for minutes after Lord Seb Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), thanked them in his speech at the show.
He told how he had met two volunteers whose stories stood out.
In one of the most touching moments of the closing ceremony, he told the crowd he had met a Games Maker on the Tube who was working as a medic at the Games.
Lord Coe said: “His name was Andrew and he told me he was a doctor at St Mary’s Hospital on his way to help out at boxing.
“But when I tried to thank him, he wouldn’t let me. He said he was the one who wanted to do the thanking. And as we did a very British dance over who should thank who, he suddenly cut through all the politeness and said: ‘I was on duty on 7/7, that awful day. For me this is closure. I wasn’t sure I should come or whether I could face it. I’m so glad I did. For I’ve seen the worst of mankind and now I’ve seen the best of mankind.’”
Lord Coe also spoke about a second volunteer, Emily, who told him volunteering at the Paralympic Games had “lifted the clouds of limitation”.
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He said: “So Andrew and Emily, I am going to have the last word. Thank you - thank you to you and all the volunteers.”
Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), also thanked the volunteers, and the members of the Armed Forces who helped at the Games, garnering another huge round of applause from the crowd.
He said: “Let us also acknowledge another band of people that stepped into the breach and went far beyond the call of duty - the British Armed Forces and the emergency services.”