Ellon man’s Olympic joy

Stephen Baker on Centre Court during the Olympic tennis tournament.
Stephen Baker on Centre Court during the Olympic tennis tournament.

An ELLON man, one of thousands of volunteers at London 2012, rated his experience the opportunity of a lifetime.

Stephen Baker was given his dream assignment, rubbing shoulders with tennis stars competing in the Olympic tournament at Wimbledon.

Tennis fan Stephen, 46, from Ardallie, said: “I absolutely loved the whole experience. It was the chance of a lifetime and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to do it.

“I was there on the Tuesday before the tournament started for training and obviously there were a lot of tennis players there. I was able to just stroll around the park and see these famous players close up on the practice courts.”

Stephen was based outside one of Wimbledon’s VIP gates, organising transport for guests.

He explained: “It was basically a case of being pleasant, humouring some people and your personality helped by talking to them.

“It was building relationships with people - if they were happy, they didn’t mind waiting for cars.

“It was really nice to hear the praise for all the volunteers at the end of the games. It was a joy to be there.”

The icing on the cake for Stephen was Andy Murray winning the gold medal.

Stephen explained: “I didn’t manage to see the final because I was working but I knew what was happening. I managed to see half an hour of him in the mixed doubles.

“You spent eight hours a day on your feet, so it was hard work but what a great atmosphere.”

The volunteers were known as Games Makers and Stephen had to go through a lengthy selection process which started in September, 2010.

He is now back home with a whole host of memories of his Olympic experience.