My name’s Gemma and I manage several of the investigation teams at Gladstone Brookes. At the start of June I was asked to be a volunteer for a “Team GB” themed open day ran by the Warrington Wolves Foundation at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. At first, like anyone, I thought “that would be good, but I’ve too much on at the moment!” But after speaking with other volunteers, and hearing their positive attitude towards towards the event, I decided to make time for it – and I am glad I did!
On the Day
What a fantastic day was had by all! There were 2 schools that benefited from the day; St Barnabas and St Anne’s, and both sets of children were remarkably well behaved. It was a pleasure to see the children were delighted with diverse range of activities that we had on offer and each activity was met with a fresh burst of energy.
First up was the Treasure Hunt, in which the children had to complete various challenges as a team to get to the next clue. These included an Olympic Rings jigsaw (which the kids completed faster than we did in the Thursday rehearsal!), building a bridge across a “river” in the home changing room to get to Adrian Morley’s shirt with the next clue, and eventually led to the children running through the tunnel and out into the stadium for the first time to find Wolfie!
Next was the Handball arena, where the children were able to learn the basics of the game and have a go themselves. This was particularly enjoyable as the first class got to hold the Olympic torch (or the “big, golden cheese grater” as the children liked to call it!), while it was explained that a lady from the stadium was actually competing at the Olympics for GB.
Then came the T-shirt making with Ray. This was quite exciting as the first class had a visit from Lee Briers who had just popped in to the office and wanted to see what the children were doing (or perhaps to secretly design the next wolves shirt; you never know!) In the task, the children had to design their own Olympic-themed T-shirt which they got to take home at the end of the event.
Going for Gold
The final event was Going for Gold, in which the children met a real Paralympian fencer called Adrian Derbyshire – who brought along his jacket, swords, fencing mask and even the Olympic torch! The children got to ask Adrian questions about his training and what it was like to be a Paralympian, before Adrian let them choose what they would like to do: hold the Olympic torch, try on the fencing jacket, hold a sword, or wear the fencing mask.
The event ended with a closing ceremony that was held in the stadium itself. I really have to mention this as the atmosphere was fantastic; especially when the children realized that they were about to meet Wolfie. As the children went to collect their GB goodie bags and medals, there were chants of USA, China, Australia and GB as children went down to get their medals in the country of their team. The absolute highlight was when Wolfie made an appearance at the closing ceremony, the stadium came alive with a hundred little voices (and one or two big ones) chanting “Wolfie” followed by screaming until he finally emerged from around the edge of the tunnel.
Since partaking in the event, I have been asked what it was like and although the above gives some insight into the day, there are no words that can truly capture the whole experience. All I would say is the next time you approached to volunteer for one of these events – if you are interested, ignore the ifs and buts and just go for it. For the couple of hours you put into it, you will get SO much more out of it!