During an incredible weekend of action in Liverpool, where nearly 16,000 people packed the Echo Arena, it was the work of a record number of event volunteers, working hard behind the scenes, that helped make the event such a success.
Including judges, more than 120 volunteers were present at the Echo, fulfilling various duties, which included handing out programmes, distributing results and start lists and working alongside coaches and judges.
Kate Willoughby-Parsons, 24, volunteered for the first time at the weekend and enjoyed seeing the event from a different side: “It was really good. It was exciting to see what happens backstage, how everything all comes together and also seeing gymnasts and gymnastics up close.
“I used to work in sports events and it’s something that I really enjoyed doing. I still work in sport, but more behind the scenes, so I thought volunteering would be a good way to see more sport up close and get to know what events are all about. I’ve had a really rounded view of what gymnastics events are all about.”
Jan Gittins has been a volunteer for several years, coming back each year to the British Championships in a media operations role. A serial volunteer, Jan has worked in sports such as swimming and badminton, at events including the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games and loves coming back: “The very first gymnastics event I did was the European Championships in 2010 in Birmingham. I got a media role, which I’d never done before, and worked with Vera Atkinson (Media Expert at British Gymnastics) for two weeks. I absolutely loved the experience and she obviously liked the way I worked and she encouraged me to come to a British Championships.
“That was the first time I was made aware that the British Championships needed or recruited volunteers each year, so that’s how I came to do my first British the following year in 2011, and I’ve been back each year since.”
As an added extra, many of the volunteers had the chance to have a personal meet and greet session with double Olympic champion Max Whitlock, and Max was full of praise for the work the volunteers continue to do each year: “Volunteers are so important. Every major championships, and every home event we go to, volunteers are a huge part in making sure the events run smoothly. The events just wouldn’t happen without the volunteers. They make us feel more at ease and comfortable when we’re competing.”
Volunteering Support and Development Manager Geoff Grant said: “This year’s British Championships has benefitted from a hugely enthusiastic, diverse and multi-talented volunteer workforce. As a team, they are pivotal to delivering a fantastic experience for everyone at the event, from coaches, judges, competitors, spectators and the whole support team that make the event the success that it is. They are a joy to work with, and it is a privilege to be part of such a great team of people. I cannot praise and thank them highly enough.”
We would like to recognise and thank the many volunteers who gave up their time to help us stage this magnificent event. We simply couldn't do it without them.
If you are interested in being a part of future events, email your details to [email protected].