Olympic Games volunteer speaks of privilege at helping out at London event

Howard Williams at the Olympic Park. NA
Howard Williams at the Olympic Park. NA

A FOOD hygiene officer at Boston Borough Council who volunteered his expertise at the Olympic Games said it was a ‘privilege’ to be part of the London event.

Games Maker Howard Williams, who had team leader responsibility for food safety in and around the Olympic Stadium for seven days, said: “It was one of the biggest and best experiences of my life, a great personal achievement.

“The atmosphere at the Olympic Stadium and other venues was simply amazing. Everyone was so friendly and out to enjoy themselves. It was truly a privilege to be part of such a global event and help to ensure that things ran smoothly.”

Howard (pictured) acted as part of a team of environmental health volunteers whose role it was to ensure that the food produced and sold at the Olympics was safe for all visitors.

He worked at the Olympic Park, Acquatic Centres and Excel Centre.

He added: “I will always remember walking onto the Olympic Park each day and thinking that for the next week ‘This is my new office’.”

The work included general monitoring of food production, through to visits looking specifically at pest, drainage and cleaning issues.

Howard quickly developed working relationships with the various venue mangers, resulting in opportunities to see several of the events including athletics, water polo, diving, BMX, wrestling and fencing.

Howard, one of 70,000 volunteers, said: “There were lots of athletes and celebrities around, but we were specifically asked to remain professional and to not bother them.

“However, on one occasion I was undertaking an inspection when an ex-professional footballer, now a celebrity, started moaning at the manager of the food business because they thought the beers cost too much.

“It made me smile because they probably could have afforded to buy the business, let alone the beers.”

Howard added: “Britain can once again be proud of what it has achieved with the Olympic and Paralympic Games. These games have set an example of excellence lauded the world over, with the games rated as one of the best ever.

“Britain has proved it is still ‘Great’ and the world now knows it, so much so that the word is they have been asked to bid for the Olympics again.

“If anyone is thinking about volunteering my advice is just do it. The benefits far outweigh any disadvantages.

“I will always remember walking onto the Olympic Park each day and thinking that for the next week ‘This is my new office’.”

Howard is now devoting all his spare time and energy to helping organise a concert for Cancer Research Charities on Saturday, November 3, from 7pm until 1am at Hubberts Bridge Community Centre, Langrick Road, PE20 3SG.

His council colleague, housing technical officer Paul Chester, has re-formed the popular rock and pop classics band Magic44 for the event, which will include other local acts and a firework finale.

Tickets, £15 each, which includes a fish and chip supper and dessert are available now from S&A Petfoods, 21 Dolphin Lane, Boston, or by calling Paul on 07545 115 717.