Once in a lifetime experience for Gamesmaker familyBy Julie Spencer
September 06, 2012
Five members of the same family have been at the heart of Olympic and Paralympic action working as Games Makers.
Mark and Margaret A’Bear and their daughters Kirsten, Jude and Caroline gave up their summer holiday for a ‘once-in-a-lifetime experience’ volunteering at London 2012.
The five were among the 250,000 people who applied to be volunteers and found themselves working at LOCOG headquarters at Canary Wharf, the Excel Centre, Eton Dorney and at the Olympic Park itself.
Mr A’Bear, who was part of the technical team for the weight lifting event at the Excel Centre, said: “It’s been a wonderful experience
“We have all met people and experienced things we will never do again.
“I met Lord Coe and we were all rubbing shoulders with athletes.”
The family, who live in Charvil, travelled to the venues each day on the train for their eight-hour shifts, wearing their distinctive purple and red uniforms.
Mr A’Bear said: “The trips up and down were made more bearable by people asking questions and generally engaging with us which is very different from a normal commute. There was a general sense of goodwill towards us.
“Everywhere we went the atmosphere was fantastic and we got the sense of belonging, that we were part of something special.”
Mrs A’Bear, who teaches at The Abbey School in Reading, worked at LOCOG HQ where the couple’s youngest daughter Jude, aged 18, is also working for the rest of the week at the Paralympics.
Kirsten, aged 21, was on duty for the Olympics at the handball Copper Box stadium.
Meanwhile, 23-year-old Caroline worked as a liaison co-ordinator for the Brazilian rowing team at Eton Dorney.
Mr A’Bear, who works at Adobe in Maidenhead, added: “When we first chatted about volunteering rather than having a summer holiday we knew it would be a once-in-a- lifetime experience. We were each given an Olympic baton and we have enough for our own relay team.”