May 24 2013 Latest news:
Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
A South Woodford man who has been out of work for two years is hoping his experience as a volunteer at the Olympic and Paralympic Games will help him find a dream job.
Robert Lewis, 58, of Hermon Hill, ensured gymnasts, basketball players, officials and journalists were provided with transport in and out of the O2 Arena in North Greenwich throughout the Olympic Games.
He will repeat the Games Maker role, which he described as “great fun”, for the wheelchair basketball events during the Paralympics from August 30.
He said: “I have been looking for a job but the recession has made it hard.
“In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, people went round with sandwich boards saying ‘looking for work’.
“I thought ‘I can use this as a spring board’.
“I’m looking for something to get passionate about. “When I commit to something I do it 110 per cent.”
Having previously worked in customer services and after running his own business for 25 years, he acknowledges the voluntary roles will also look good on his CV.
The downside of the work was being largely based outside the arena so he couldn’t watch all the action, according to Mr Lewis.
But an unforeseen bonus was spotting famous faces coming in and out, including the diverse trio of David Beckham, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Henry Kissinger.
And Mr Lewis said the atmosphere was incredible.
He added: “I saw the really good side of Britain that we don’t normally shout about.”
He will take part in a training session before his Paralympics role which he said will be a “different situation” because he will be helping people in wheelchairs to access transport.
He said: “Wheelchair basketball is quite a popular sport, it’s a global event.”
The role will last until September 9 and across the two competitions will have consisted of 26 shifts.
Mr Lewis can be contacted on 079 5625 8457.