A chosen few will be able to realise their Olympic dreams

By Brian Sacks, July 19, 2012

Brian Sacks has been speaking to members of the community who are taking part in the Olympics as Volunteers. Their roles each entail a significant time commitment, both during the Games and in the training beforehand. They were remarkably consistent in their enthusiasm for the Games and their admiration for how they have been planned and organised

* David Gallick, a magistrate and charity trustee from Mill Hill, is part of the management team for support operations in the athletes’ village. He said: “Our team is a central contact point for any issues that arise in the village, be they related to housekeeping, security, transport or anything else. The role is predominantly an administrative and managerial one that involves passing requirements out to the relevant specialist teams. As recently as last week my team and I were inspecting 300 bedrooms for the Italian contingent, making sure that each one was in a perfect state for handover.”

* Stephen Ankier, a pharmacologist and researcher from Edgware, will be providing VIP transport between official games destinations throughout London. As an Advanced Motorist he is well qualified for the role. Ankier will be driving a specially adapted BMW that navigates via the official Olympic route and triggers traffic lights to change in its favour. He said: “It’s a family enterprise. My wife, Loretta, will be using her language skills in her role as part of the security team. Also, my daughter, Jo, a former international athlete, played a starring role in one of the London Olympic bid videos. She’ll be covering the Games as a reporter.”

* Rosalind Zeffertt, a Japanese translator living in Mill Hill, is taking part in Opening and Closing ceremonies, both as a performer and as a marshal in the athletes’ parade. Her role requires participation in 27 rehearsals, in the main Olympic stadium in Stratford and also at locations in Dagenham and Bromley-by-Bow. She said: “Each rehearsal means a commitment of several hours at least, with transport delays on top of that. But I am a former athlete and I have always loved the Olympics. For me, participating in these Games in this way is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can’t wait.”

* Danielle Sanderson, an IT consultant living in Bushey, is a Team Leader for Venue Entry to the athletes’ village. She is managing a group of 12 other volunteers and helping with security, which includes airport-style screening. Sanderson’s 10 eight-hour shifts each require her to set her alarm for 4.30am. Sanderson, a former international marathon runner, said: “I will enjoy the atmosphere of the village. I benefitted from the services of volunteers at events such as the Commonwealth Games when I was competing, so I was pleased to give something back by volunteering now.”

* Sam Kuperberg, an accountant from Mill Hill, is a London Ambassador at St Pancras International, welcoming visitors arriving on Eurostar for the Games. He offers information on the Olympics and London’s other tourist attractions, and advice over practicalities including hotels and transport. He is also part of a ‘flying squad’, available to help out at any other Olympic location. He said: “I think that the Games should not only be a sporting festival but a showcase for London, and we need to welcome our visitors and show them what a wonderful city London is.”

Last updated: 5:03pm, July 26 2012