I finished my second and final shift on Sunday at Wembley as a volunteer for the Rugby World Cup 2015.
It all seems a bit anti- climatic after all the training, issue of uniforms and 12 hour days for just two matches at Wembley; I’m guessing that after a total attendance of 178,000, the England Rugby team are regretting not staging more matches there.
A few photos from my perspective:
View from the ‘Fanzone’ towards the stadium.
Part of the volunteer team having a break
View of the Fanzone
Maori dancers in the Fanzone arena
The whole effort had been well worth it, despite only covering two matches. There is though a palpable difference between RWC and the Olympics at which I was also a volunteer. Much was the same; uniform style, accessories, little presents at each shift, the attitude imparted and much more, but there are far fewer of us for RWC and using public transport there weren’t any near as many around as there were in 2012. We had the same values though and all the Vols I met were committed and enthusiastic, but not held in as high esteem I feel, as when I was travelling during the Olympics. Only one spectator personally thanked me and shook my hand for volunteering. That felt good.
Our role was also slightly different in that we were there to enthuse and cajole the crowd, without, as in the Olympics being part of operational aspects such as checking tickets and showing people to their seats. We also were given various souvenirs of our time with RWC, the latest of which was this midi ball:
The fact that England lost against Wales didn’t stop my enthusiasm for the tournament, I just hope they beat Australia and they in turn then beat Wales. Being a volunteer didn’t mean I saw any of the matches I was involved in, that wasn’t the point of being one. Although I was luckily enough to see the last ten minutes of the Ireland/Romania match inside the stadium; that was great and enough for me. I shall again watch England versus Australia at my rugby club Farnham or FRUFC. The atmosphere in the club on Saturday night was electric and exciting until Wales won, so I’m hoping that will be repeated thus Saturday, with of course an England win. If they do it should be a very interesting rest of the world cup.