AN ‘excited’ Dales couple are counting down the days until they take up their positions among the army of volunteers at the 2012 London Olympics.
Ranald and Viv McDonald were among the quarter of a million people who applied to be Games Makers , as volunteers are being called at the Olympics.
This was whittled down to 120,000 people who were then interviewed and they have subsequently been chosen as one of the 70,000 Games Makers, who will be helping the momentous occasion to proceed in as smooth and efficient a manner as possible.
Both will be based in the Olympic Park. Viv is at the Venue Communications Centre in the Riverside Stadium, where all the hockey is being held. She will be part of the central radio communications team.
Ranald is on the Entertainments Team for the Cultural Olympiad and his role is to chaperone the musicians/performers/artists to their various locations throughout the Olympic Park.
The intention is to add to the visitor experience by ensuring that there is plenty for them to do all day and not just visit for the events for which they have tickets.
Ranald told the Mercury: “We’re both very interested in sport and have also organised sports events too, through our links with Matlock Community Orienteering Club, Derwent Valley Orienteers and with British Orientering.
“We thought it was too good an opportunity to miss, not just to see it all but also to be a part of it.
“We applied for both Weymouth and London and were delighted to get selected for London, so we’re not too far away from each other.
“We were interviewed last October. Viv heard she’d been successful pretty much straight away but my section took until April before I found out.
“It’s almost something of a cliche to say it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity but it’s also true.
“We felt it was the natural progression for people who not only like sport but organising sports events too and to be based at the Olympic Park is a real bonus for us both.”
Asked to pinpoint why he thinks the pair were chosen, Ranald explained: “I think it’s because we were enthusiastic and we were experienced in the organisation of sports events and dealing with people.
“Clearly, they are nothing like on the scale of this, but in terms of national events in orienteering, they are large events of their kind that we have been involved in, so I think that worked in our favour.
“We are really excited about it and we aim to camp next to the Olympic Park, which should be an experence.
“Viv went down recently for some ‘venue specific training’, as they call it, and got to see the facilities close up, so that added to the excitment.
“The facilities are well thought out and well designed so to be a part of it will be very exciting.”
Viv starts her shifts as a Games Maker on Saturday with Ranald’s stint beginning on Saturday, July 28, the day after the Olympics begin.
Ranald added: “We also have tickets for the men’s 1500 metres athletics final and, as Games Makers, for the Final Technical Rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony on July 26, so the excitement is definitely building now.”