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Behind the scenes at the Commonwealth Games – Part 2

Behind the scenes at the Commonwealth Games – Part 2

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games wouldn’t have been possible without its volunteers.

Amongst the thousands who gave up their time to bring the Games to life was our Food Fellows colleague, Paul Butler (Food and Beverage Assistant (Bars)), who proudly worked as a ceremonies team member.

Volunteering at the Games was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. And to be one of just 200 volunteers selected to be a part of the medal ceremonies was really special.

I was a tray bearer for the rugby sevens, judo, wrestling and cricket medal ceremonies. Altogether, I presented 24 medals: 17 bronze, 3 silver and 4 gold. There was also the exclusive bronze, silver and gold Perrys to hand out which were made especially for the athletes.

Smiling Paul in his grey and orange Birmingham 2022 volunteer uniform. Paul holds a tray with a gold medal and Perry on.
A proud tray bearer: Paul with one of the Games’ priceless gold medals and limited edition Perrys.

My main role was to ensure all the medals were ceremony-ready. Each one had to be cleaned and polished as they came sealed directly from the factory. All the medals travelled to the venue under police protection, so it was a huge privilege to be entrusted with them before they were given to the athletes.

Out of the nine days I volunteered, four of them were broadcast rehearsal days to ensure all the camera angles and set-up was right for the main event, with volunteers getting the chance to stand on the podiums before the athletes did.

Paul at Judo ceremony on TV.
As seen on TV! Paul at the Judo medal ceremony.

A major highlight for me was my first medal ceremony, which was for the women’s rugby sevens. When I stood on that pitch, hearing the national anthem being sung and the roar of the crowd, and watching all the fireworks go off, I got quite emotional. In that moment, I felt like everything had come together, that all the hard work of the rehearsals had paid off.

The whole experience has been life-changing for me, and I couldn’t be prouder to have played a part in showcasing my city. I grew up in Birmingham and have seen it evolve over the years so Birmingham 2022 made me feel very proud of where I come from.

I can’t thank the University and my line-manger, Tasha Vahey, enough for allowing me the chance to be a part of something so special and memorable.

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