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Olympic volunteer lunches with Prime Minister
10:19am Wednesday 12th September 2012 in News
A TILBURY man enjoyed a coffee with the Prime Minister as a thank you for his hard work at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
John Kingsgate was one of 20 volunteers from the Games invited to meet David Cameron at Number 10 on Monday morning.
The retired 67-year-old was nominated for the honour by the team of gamesmakers at the velodrome, where he volunteered and put in 14 hour shifts on many occasions.
John, from Thackeray Avenue, said: “I got the call at about 7.30pm on Sunday inviting me, and said yes straightaway. “I thought what a way to end the experience.
“The next morning I was sitting in the Cabinet room with David Cameron and the other volunteers having a coffee.
“He was really pleasant to talk to, he is much more relaxed off camera.
“He asked me questions about where I worked during the Games and seemed to really know his stuff.”
The volunteers were then given a tour around Number 10.
John was determined to work as volunteer at the Games as soon as he heard London had been awarded them.
He said: “I applied online straightaway and it has taken over the last seven months of my life.
“It’s been brilliant though – I’ve seen nearly every medal in the velodrome and the atmosphere in there was absolutely fantastic. I felt very fortunate to be involved.”
John, whose role involved looking after the athletes and bringing them drinks, ice and towels, said he struggled to find a single highlight of the Games as there have been so many amazing moments.
He said: “Seeing all the gold medals was great, but I think it was how people’s perception of the Games changed that was so good.
“I think a lot of people thought things were going to go wrong, but in the end it was brilliant.
“It was also the small things that meant a lot to us volunteers.
“For example, after the last event at the velodrome we’d all gathered together for a picture, then all of a sudden, Australian cyclist Anna Meares just came over and got in the middle of the picture.
“It was little things like that which made it extra special.”