DRONFIELD Olympic volunteer Charlie Last has waved a fond farewell to the world’s greatest sportsmen and women after enjoying his role as a Games Maker with the event’s media centre.
The Chain Gang charity cyclist and owner of Dronfield’s Carpeteer has kept us up to date on the Derbyshire Times’ website with his experiences with fellow volunteers, his gruelling commutes and reflections on the Olympic spirit.
Today, August 14, Charlie who has been based in digs in East London during the Games and who dubbed himself Our Man in Stratford has reflected on his time with the greatest show on earth for our readers to consider.
He told the Derbyshire Times’ readers, during his latest web blog: “Well, that’s it! The Games of the 30th Olympiad are over. Medals won and lost, closing ceremony a triumph, the media gone home and the Media Transport Desk packed away to be resurrected in some shape or form in Rio, in Brazil, 4 years hence. It’s been a great experience.
“To be part of the latest edition of the greatest sporting show on earth has been a pleasure in many forms. By far the best has been meeting and working with so many of the 70,000 volunteer Games Makers who having freely given their time and money to furnish many vital roles - some more interesting than others, but all necessary for the Olympics to be the success it has been.
“There have been many moments that have refreshed my faith in human nature. One such event was late into one of my 6pm to midnight shifts when a couple of Korean media lecturers asked for information on a trip they wished to make to Seven Sisters, near Brighton.
“Our prime role was to advise on Media transport around the Games, so whilst this request was outside our remit and with the associated language problems we planned a trip from their accomodation to Seven Sisters via underground, train and bus.
“The gentlemen returned to our desk a day later to say how pleased they were with their trip and to offer their obvious, sincere thanks. “Lovely that they took the time to offer their thanks in what was sure to be an extremely busy time for them.
“Another delight has been the reception Games Makers received from the public. I have received endless votes of thanks for our efforts and many have graciously offered up their seats on my commute when another challenging long and late day was obviously etched onto my tired face - thanks a million for that!
“I also indulged in a little celebrity spotting during my role at the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre. I have rubbed shoulders with Jonathan Edwards, Sue Barker, Hugh Porter, Gaby Roslin, Jake Humphey, John Inverdale, Iwan Thomas and Sophie Raworth.
“Like the rest of the nation, I was amazed at the record medal haul from Team GB of 29 Gold, 17 Silver and 19 Bronze. After a slow start - didn’t we do well?
“Personally, very impressed with the gutsy ride to eighth place of my namesake - Annie Last - from Bakewell, in the women’s mountain bike race on the superb, purpose built, Hadleigh Park circuit.
“Continuing with the mountain biking theme, silver medallist, Germany’s Sabine Spitz, paid a visit to the IBC and on the evening of the race she leant her bike on our Media Transport desk and chatted whilst awaiting clearance so I got to congratulate and shake the hand of a true Olympic medal winner - awesome!
“Can’t wait until I return, later on this month, to the same role for the inspirational Paralympic Games. So this is Our man in Stratford signing off for now.”
And who knows, may be there’ll be a place for Our Man in Stratford to become Our Man in Rio in four years’ time. Whatever the future holds, a big thank you goes out to you Charlie because all our DT staff and readers have loved your Olympic tales from a champion Games maker - you deserve a medal!