Sarah Stewart describes her experiences volunteering as a Team London Ambassador during this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games…
I heard about the London Ambassadors in summer 2010. I really wanted to get involved with the Games and thought this was a great opportunity. In September 2011, I found out I had got through and started my training in April. In the first two days, I learned about the duties of an Ambassador, while on the third and final day I found out more about where I would be based – the London Media Centre, off Trafalgar Square.
My first week of Ambassador shifts started on 21 July. I soon discovered I would be doing more work outside helping the public than in the centre itself. With so many tourists about, we set up a London Ambassador pod on one of the corners of Parliament Square. We were kept busy every day with questions about the area, the famous buildings, directions, and of course, people wanting their photos with us!
I did another week of shifts during the Olympics from 2-8 August. It was much busier, with Horse Guards Parade a beach volleyball venue, and we had lots of enquiries about the events. I then worked at the London Media Centre and Westminster throughout the Paralympics.
Each five hour session flew by as we were having so much fun, chatting to the public, passing on information and even learning more about the area ourselves. Despite being constantly on our feet and smiling all day, every Ambassador was sad to see their shift end and we all looked forward to starting again the next day.
From time to time we were asked questions which baffled us completely! For instance, where the birdcages were on Birdcage Walk, or why some phone boxes were painted black. However, the funniest question we were asked without fail was ‘Where is Big Ben?’ After a quick glance up tourists would quickly work out they were, in fact, stood beneath it.
Being an Ambassador has been one of the best experiences I have had. I have learned so much this summer and have met so many new people. I’ve really grown in confidence and developed a real passion for volunteering. Everyone I met through the programme has been enthusiastic and friendly and I’ve made some great new friends too.
It was also fantastic to really be a part of the wonderful atmosphere in London during the Games and experience the feeling of the city and the nation really coming together. It made me very proud to be a London Ambassador and proud to be British!
Find out more: http://www.london.gov.uk/gifts/pink
Image Courtesy of: Monna and Becky - Team London Ambassadors