The Mural outside the Beckwith Clubhouse Taking shape!

The Mural outside the Beckwith Clunhouse is taking shape!

The participatory arts project was aimed at young people and getting them to make a permanent mark commemorating the impact that the olympics have had on the University. Representatives from Charnwood Arts came and drew out the outline of the mural and children of all ages from nursery age to those old enough to know better joined in!

Nursery age Children

Children taking part in the participatory arts project

School age children

Big Kids taking part too!

 the finished article!

the finished mural

Diary of a Medal Maker – Alexandra Barker

When I started at Loughborough University working on the Medal Makers programme I knew I was starting something special and momentous but little did I know exactly what was in store!

Walking around campus with the rest of the team and seeing all the first class sporting facilities really brought it home to me exactly where I was working. Loughborough University, to me, is synonymous with sport and I couldn’t think of a better place to work!

The first couple of months flew by in a flurry of policy and strategy writing and the start of the recruitment phase. The Preparation Camp was due to open on 18th June and we needed our volunteers in place to start on that date!

The first task for us to undertake was to organise some volunteers to take part in the dress rehearsal of the Olympic Torch Relay! I was lucky enough to be nominated also and had the chance to run with the official Olympic Torch.

Alex Barker with the Olympic Torch!

By May we had recruited most of the volunteers and we held the first of five briefing/training sessions, neatly timed for the start of the Olympic Torch Relay, carried for the first time by Ben Ainslie (one of my sporting greats).With tears in my eyes I welcomed the first batch of volunteers and thanked them for coming.

Once the volunteers were briefed and we only had 4 weeks to do our final preparations it was all hands on deck to get people into roles and locations ready for day one…..and somehow we managed it!

Day one of Preparation Camp brought its own challenges with more volunteers needed for certain roles and less for others. It was a juggling act all the way through with the need for volunteers changing on a regular basis but all roles were filled and no job was left undone.

The 3rd July was another great day as that was the day that the official Olympic Torch Relay came through campus, again!  This time I was able to enjoy the spectacle as the torch passed by and I saw the torch ‘kiss’ outside the Sir Denis Rooke Building. The Relay was preceded by a fun and colourful carnival marking the relay as it passed through the East Midlands.

That week proved to be pretty special as not only did we have the Olympic Torch, but I was lucky enough to meet Princess Anne, Sir Steve Redgrave and to be present at David Cameron’s address regarding legacy.

The Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games marked another key event for the Medal Makers with a party and the opening of the Beckwith Clubhouse. The Medal Makers and I had worked really hard to turn a lecture theatre into an inviting clubhouse for people to kick back, relax and watch the Games.

The clubhouse proved to be a massive success with a full house on many an occasion. Staff and volunteers watched and cheered for Team GB as they won most of their 65 medals.

On the 6th August Preparation Camp finished. The Team GB branding was all taken down and their presence here on campus became a memory….or did it?

Work had already started to commemorate the Olympics in the form of a participatory arts project outside the Sports Development Centre building to serve as a permanent reminder of the impact that the Olympics has had on Loughborough University and its staff, students and volunteers.

I know that my Olympic odyssey was truly over when we held the final thank you and farewell party for the Medal Makers on 15th August. With genuine tears of joy and sadness I made my goodbyes to my new friends and vowed to meet them all again on our next volunteering adventure.

I have truly loved my time here at Loughborough. Through the many highs and lows that I have worked through I have learnt that I am resilient and tough and can face adversity face on. I am cheerful and diligent and work with tenacity to achieve great things. I will miss the people that I have met along the way and thank each and everyone of them.


Diary of a Medal Maker – Lizzi Major

For the past two years I have been working with Loughborough University on the Medal Makers programme to recruit an ‘army’ of volunteers to support the official Team GB Preparation Camp and create a lasting legacy for the area. After all the build-up it is hard to believe that all 550 Team GB athletes, plus 450 support staff, have been to Loughborough to collect their kit and the London 2012 Games are about to start!

I have been lucky enough to play my part in the huge Team GB ‘Kitting Out’ operation that has taken place on campus over the last six weeks. My role has involved scheduling (and in some cases rescheduling!) who is coming and when, checking people in on arrival and most importantly being that happy smiling face as the athletes walk through the door to make their experience a special one from the start. Being an excitable person myself this hasn’t proved to be a difficult task – I could honestly say that every day I have been almost as excited as they are.

For the majority of athletes this is the first time they will compete at an Olympic Games. Some have been a little nervous on arrival and unsure of what to expect whilst others have bounced through the door in anticipation. One thing all of the athletes have in common is the fact that they are buzzing when they leave and many have struggled to find the words to describe the incredible experience of getting kitted out and becoming part of ‘One Team GB’.

On average it takes around three and a half hours for a Team GB athlete to complete their kitting out experience. Following an introductory DVD fronted by Sir Clive Woodward, the first port of call is to Next for fitting of formal wear and Opening and Closing Ceremony outfits (which are top secret and hidden behind closed doors!). The 1948 Olympic athletes offer their words of wisdom via inspirational handwritten messages framed around the room which is a nice touch.

Following Next is a visit to Adidas to try on competition wear, training wear, village wear and podium wear (yes there is even a special tracksuit to be worn for the medal ceremonies!). A team of volunteers take on the role of ‘personal shoppers’, fetching various sizes for the athletes to try on and in some cases being asked for advice on the fit – although with the finely toned athletes I can’t imagine there were too many cries of “Does my bum look big in this?!”

The athletes have their photos taken and are interviewed in the Media Zone which is good preparation for the interest that will surround them in London. They have their hands and feet scanned and the idea of this is to create a lasting memory of every single Team GB athlete to display in the Olympic Museum. The athletes also sign up to the ‘One Team GB’ core values of Performance, Respect, Unity, Responsibility and Pride.

The Team GB Preparation Camp wouldn’t have been able to run without the team of dedicated volunteers that have given up six weeks of their lives to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity. It has been an absolute honour and a privilege to meet all of the Team GB athletes and I wish every single one of them success at the Olympic Games in London. I will certainly be glued to the Games and will no doubt find myself taking more of an interest in sports that weren’t previously on my radar now that I have met the people that will competing.

Lizzi Major

Good Luck Team GB…Better Never Stops!

Diary of a Medal Maker – Laura Edgar

The Medal Maker scheme organised by Loughborough University gave me the opportunity to be that little bit closer to the London Olympics of 2012 than just avidly watching the coverage on the BBC. Furthermore it also gave me the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and work with various people.

My first two days as a volunteer were spent down in the Media Centre in Holywell Stadium, escorting t med from there to the Sir Denis Rooke building for their interviews with various members of Team GB. This meant that I was one of the lucky few who got to see a few athletes, including Christine Ohuruogu, and the Team GB wall all of the athletes signed before their interviews, giving me the opportunity to have my photo taken next to it.

My other tasks as a Medal Maker involved me writing small articles for the newsletter on some of the Olympic sports, setting up and looking after the Olympic Clubhouse in the Sir John Beckwith building, and copying the recordings of the Olympics to disk.

One of the highlights of my time as a volunteer was being one of a group of 90 who were given the opportunity to go to Old Trafford to see Spain play Morocco; a game that ended in a dull goalless draw, although that didn’t dampen my day.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Medal Maker volunteering and would like to congratulate every member of Team GB for their phenomenal performances. Furthermore, a huge thank you must go to all the staff that made London 2012 a success.

Me with the board the athletes signed.Laura with the support board

Me with the Olympic Torch

Laura with the Olympic Torch

#InspiringAGeneration #ProudToBeBritish

Life in a Day of Preparation Camp!

Life in a Day of the Preparation Camp

The Official Preparation Camp Headquarters for Team GB opened for ‘business’ on Monday 18th June.

This first day of Preparation Camp was in fact one of the busiest! The first athletes to pass through the Camp were the rowers.

Since then we have seen (nearly) all 541 athletes selected for Team GB come to Loughborough University to collect their kit, do media interviews and receive gifts from their sponsors.

And a lucky 19 teams even stayed here at Loughborough to train! With Medal Makers supporting them all the way.

We have had VIPs, Governmental, sporting legends and royalty come to visit us at Preparation Camp creating as much of a stir as the athletes themselves!

Team GB have very much felt like part of the family and the ubiquitous red trainers marked the Team GB and BOA staff, athletes and volunteers from miles away. Leaving looks of envy on people’s faces as they passed!

Not as envious as when people saw the Medal makers T-shirts however. The purple T-shirts of the Medal Makers have certainly left their mark and have been a useful tool in identifying Medal Maker volunteers from a distance!

The Medal Makers created quite a stir on the Olympic Torch Relay day when the sea of pink was the closing image of many of the news bulletins on the eve of the 3rd July.

The Camp was dismantled on the 6th August and all those who have been involved in the Preparation Camp are very sad to see Team GB leave campus.

However the Olympic fever continued with the opening of the Beckwith Clubhouse which has screened much of the Games live on its three screens.

All in all there were:

  • 64 days of Preparation Camp;
  • 541 Team GB athletes;
  • 342 Medal Makers
  • 11,642 volunteering hours.

The Medal Makers Programme

 Medal Makers Volunteer Programme

Loughborough University was confirmed as the venue for the Official Preparation Camp Headquarters for Team GB and from then work started to create a unique volunteer programme to support both the University and Team GB over the summer of 2012.

The Medal Makers volunteering programme was designed, and implemented, to deliver the exceptional support needed for the training camps, kitting out, and other special events and ceremonies.

Nearly 400 volunteers were recruited to support Loughborough University to deliver the outstanding service expected for Team GB, the British Olympic Association, athletes and staff at Loughborough University at the Preparation Camp.

Medal Makers volunteers worked in all of the different areas in the Preparation Camp; from kitting out each Team GB athletes in their official Team GB kit, supporting the Team GB media team, participating in the BOA London 2012 museum archives and providing the security and venue assistance for the individual training venues.

Medal Makers have supported in all aspects of VIP visits to the Preparation Camp from managing the car parking to actually escorting the delegations.

The volunteers have also been instrumental in ensuring the delivering of the communications strategy and worked in all areas of hospitality, including doing the Team GB laundry!

Volunteers have also been involved in some very exciting events, such as the Olympic Torch Relay, LIA, the LEAP athletics event, the Loughborough Football and rugby teams inaugural matches on the new Loughborough Stadium. This activity will stand them in good stead in their future volunteering endeavours.

Legacy and continuation of their volunteering has been woven throughout the programme and we have worked in partnership with Leicestershire and Rutland sport and in particular linking with their volunteering programme, Sport Makers.

Medal Makers volunteers have clocked up an impressive 11,642 hours of volunteering over the 64 days of the Preparation Camp. Some volunteers working well into the night to achieve their goals.

Volunteers ranged in age from 16 to 84 and from all walks of life from HE students to retired solicitors, sports stars of the future to those who simply wanted to ‘give something back to society’.

Some volunteers came from Leicestershire and the rest of the East Midlands, but others came from London, Surrey, Devon and some came from oversees, for example the international students who delayed their return back home just to be involved in the Olympics in whatever way they could.

Some Medal Makers volunteers were also Games Makers based in the Olympic venues and have been wearing their Medal Maker uniform, when not on Games Maker duty, with pride!

The Medal Makers volunteers have epitomised the Olympic values: respect, friendship and excellence. They have had respect for each other, Team GB and the job in hand; they have been excellent at every activity that they participated in and they have made long and lasting friendships!


Team GB training

Loughborough University and the Medal Makers were thrilled to be able to support so many of Team GB and their training needs.

All in all there were 19 teams training here; starting with Basketball on the 21st June and finishing on Monday 6th August when the Taekwondo team dismantled the Taekwondo square and left to go to the Olympic Village.

The Medal Makers acted as security of the venues ensuring that no-one without the correct accreditation pass as allowed in (or in the case of the Basketball Players below a certain height!). In addition they supported the teams by getting them what they needed including a brush (and a vacuum cleaner to clean the brush), a sharp knife, ice for ice baths and superglue!

Our friendly policeman – Mark Friskell

Mark - our friendly policeman!

Mark Friskel is a Police Officer who was assigned to the Official Preparations Camp Headquarters for Team GB at Loughborough University from mid-January onwards.

He provided a vital link between the University and Charnwood Borough Council, Leicestershire Constabulary and Leicestershire County Council. He ensured that all the different strategic plans for the Olympic Torch Relay linked and worked together perfectly.

From the start it was clear that there was a lot to do!

The Olympic Torch Relay through Leicestershire comprised two events: the dress rehearsal on the 20th April and the real thing on the 3rd June.

Being involved in the dress rehearsal was exciting as Leicestershire showed people what was involved and how it would look. The whole nation, plus LOCOG, Team GB, the BOA and the IOC were watching us to ensure it all went according to plan.

In addition to the logistics of the torch relay, the traffic controlling measures had to be meticulous as many major routes were affected.

The feedback from the day was very positive with the staffing from the Medal Makers volunteers absolutely spot on!

Now to planning the real thing! The emphasis here was to shape the plans and bring it all together.

We needed to brief as many volunteers as we could and The Medal Makers team helped to set up those briefing sessions. Without those the volunteers may not have known what was expected of them.

One of the highlights of Mark’s work on campus was playing the video of the previous days’ footage of the Olympic Torch Relay on the morning of the 3rd July. Seeing everyone’s faces in the ‘sea of pink’ light up as they realized exactly what they were involved in was inspiring.

They even gave a round of applause in appreciation of the day ahead.

In addition to the volunteers and visitors to campus, local school children filled the Holywell Stadium and the cheering in there was deafening…it certainly helped build the air of excitement and anticipation.

All in all an estimated 9,000 people were on site watching the Olympic Torch go through Loughborough University’s campus.

‘I’ve had a fantastic time on campus working with all the different organization and the Medal Makers volunteers I am proud to have played a key part in the torch relay. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. And now I’m back in reality with the day job with the community engagement team!’

Olympic Clubhouse Launch

To celebrate the impact that Loughborough University has had upon the Team GB athletes and to thank the Medal Makers volunteers for all their hard work a special event was organised for the Opening Ceremony.

The Sir John Beckwith lecture theatre was set up an Olympic Clubhouse and a Hog Roast was organised.

there were games organised for family and friends and a fantastic night was had by all.