A DEDICATED sporting volunteer has returned from the first leg of his Games experience in the capital.
Keith Thomas, chairman of Hartlepool Table Tennis Club, spent over a month at the ExCel Arena volunteering as a ‘Games Maker’ supporting the table tennis competitions.
The 64-year-old, from the Throston area of Hartlepool, said: “It was great. It met all my expectations, and was a unique experience.
“The buzz about the place really was phenomenal, with everyone very chatty and all saying what a good job the volunteers were doing.”
Keith, a financial consultant, who lives with wife Julie, 56, spent his time at the Games supporting table tennis athletes backstage at the arena before and after matches.
Games Makers do not get paid for their time or accommodation, but Keith was lucky to be able to stay with his son Neil who lives in London.
He returns to the city next weekend for a further two weeks as a volunteer for the Paralympic Games, continuing to support the table tennis players.
“The Paralympics will be more interesting for me, as, particularly in table tennis, there are a lot more categories of medals, more classifications, and hopefully TeamGB has some good gold medal chances,” he added.
“The whole sport at the Paralympics is more competitive, and there are more logistical issues, such as making sure all the access for athletes is wheelchair-friendly. I haven’t worked with Paralympic or disabled athletes much before, so this is a great opportunity.”