Since the release of our research Good Sports at the start of Volunteers Week, we have been celebrating our very own volunteers within the Women In Sport team.
Alex discusses her role as a part of ‘The Pack’ of 6,000 volunteers that helped make the World Cup happen.
In 2015, inspired by the Olympic Gamesmakers, I became one of the 6,000 volunteers at the Rugby World Cup.
Over 20,000 people initially applied to join “The Pack” and after an initial sift, I was interviewed at Twickenham Stadium and measured up for my uniform at the same time just in case!
I had to show: enthusiasm for rugby (easy), be able to take time off work during the tournament (less easy but manageable) and some skill that could be useful (hmmm…). Despite all that, some months later, I was told I had been accepted to work in the Press Office at Twickenham, which was hugely exciting and also somewhat daunting!
“The Pack” as the volunteers were called, had a couple of bonding sessions over the summer before a final training day in August 2015. There, we were given our uniforms– a crunch moment as to whether it would fit having been measured up nearly a year earlier!
The Media Office at Twickenham was the central coordination point for all the tournament’s media relations and where all post-match press conferences were held, so we got to meet many of the players and coaches as well as press. There were over 5,000 accredited journalists who all needed servicing to a certain degree each day and the media centre was open every day from 7am to midnight, regardless of whether there was a match at Twickenham.
One of the things that surprised me most was the distance some of my fellow volunteers had travelled. I only came from SW London but others drove in from as far away as Bournemouth and Sheffield and there were others who had come from abroad.
There were many incredible highlights (and lowlights; I was working the night that England were dumped out of the World Cup) including meeting Prince Harry, Jonny, Jason Leonard and getting to watch some fantastic rugby over the course of two months. But most of all it was fantastic to contribute and play some small part in the most successful Rugby World Cup and to work alongside such a fabulous bunch of dedicated people, who were all so passionate about their sport.