Oliver’s in the driving seat for the Olympics

Oliver Lowe from Morpeth who is  volunteering at the Olympics as a Games Maker.
Oliver Lowe from Morpeth who is volunteering at the Olympics as a Games Maker.

THE training is done, the uniform has arrived, now Oliver Lowe is on his marks to represent Morpeth at the Olympic Games.

The 27-year-old has been selected as one of 70,000 Games Makers for London 2012 after volunteering to work in the transport section.

And despite never having driven in London before his call up, he will be responsible for driving sponsors, representatives from overseas Olympic committees and other invited guests around the capital in a BMW taxi service.

“It is going to be quite hard work, but we have some rest days,” he said.

“The drivers like myself are going to be operating like a taxi of sorts for people like sponsors, but I’m certainly not going to be driving the athletes.

“We’ve been given a list of 70 possible destinations that we might need to drive people to and from and I have had two days of practice driving around London.

“It was the first time I’d driven in London so it was quite an experience for me and I was a bit nervous at first, but since my training I’m more reassured that I can do it.

“We’ll be going to the different venues, as well as some hotels and Heathrow Airport. We’ll be using sat nav and the radio communications equipment to know where we are going and to find out our next destination.

“I chose to apply to work in transport because that’s what I’m interested in.”

Mr Lowe applied as a volunteer more than 18 months ago and had his first interview at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, before follow-up sessions in London.

He has saved up his holiday entitlement from transport charity Sustrans, where he works in the monitoring department, to take part in the Games and will start the first of his 10 10-hour shifts on Wednesday.

The volunteer will be based near the Westfield Shopping Centre beside the Olympic Park.

“I’m really excited now,” he said.

“It has been such a long build-up and I’m just keen to get started now.

“I feel ready having had my training and got my uniform, which I really like.

“There are going to be so many people down there and there will be such a buzz around the events. I’m also excited about who I might meet when I’m driving.”

Mr Lowe has managed to secure tickets for some of the gymnastic events through the ballot process, but he is also looking forward to enjoying a preview of the Opening Ceremony of the Games after volunteers were invited to apply for free tickets to the rehearsals.

“It is really good that I’m going to the Opening Ceremony rehearsal, but I will have to keep the details a secret so I don’t spoil anything,” he said.

He added: “I applied as a volunteer because I was just so keen to take part in the Games and now it feels like I’m representing the country in some way.

“It is nice to be part of the Olympics, which is why I’m prepared to take annual leave from work to do it.

“It is a cliche, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It’s a unique opportunity to be involved in an event like this.”