Knaresborough’s Olympic volunteer

Alex Ings-Simmons in the Olympic village, where he volunteered for a month over the games (s)
Alex Ings-Simmons in the Olympic village, where he volunteered for a month over the games (s)

A Knaresborough teenager is back home after an exciting month volunteering as a Games Maker at the London Olympics.

Alex Ings-Simmons, 19, spent four weeks in the Olympic village, helping athletes find buses to their events.

He became a Games Maker after a long selection and training process.

“I spent the summer of 2008 sitting on the sofa watching the Beijing Olympics, and I think that’s why I decided to volunteer,” he said.

Early starts for his 6am shifts meant Alex had to get up at 4am to get across London to the Olympic park, but he is still thrilled with his experience.

“I am definitely pleased and very proud I did it.

“The atmosphere in the village was amazing. Even though we didn’t know all the athletes we knew they were world class.”

Alex saw the whole GB cycling team, gymnast Beth Tweddle and Usain Bolt.

“I think shaking hands with Mo Farah was a highlight. He’d been watching the men’s 100m final and hundreds of athletes were pouring off the buses so I went over to him, shook his hand, and said well done.”

Alex, who went to King James School , is now a studying Applied Sports Science at Edinburgh University. He came home from the games with souvenirs including his Games Maker uniform and pins traded with athletes and coaches.

“I am considering walking into my first lecture in my uniform. My friends are all jealous and think it’s an amazing thing to have done.

“The pin trading is something the public didn’t really know about. The athletes and coaches would give you pins with their national flag on it if you were helpful or friendly.”

Alex collected 10 pins, including one from the British Virgin Islands. “They are very rare because they only had two athletes at the games,” he said.

“The athletes were all very friendly. They knew we were volunteers so in the last few days a lot of them told us what good jobs we had done.”