‘Incredible’: Hainault Olympics volunteer describes being cheered by athletes at victory parade
A games maker from Hainault was cheered by athletes as she sung with a choir of volunteers at the Olympic victory parade on Monday.
Lesley Cook, 60, also got a high five from comedian Eddie Izzard at the event, where she was celebrating the success of the Olympics and Paralympics with an estimated one million people.
She said: “I was in the Mall and it was incredible. When the athletes came through we had them all to ourselves for a few minutes.
“Some of them had placards saying thank you to the games makers and they joined in with our songs.”
Lesley was singing with the Games Maker Legacy Choir, which was started spontaneously during the Games by volunteer Victoria Verbi.
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They were invited to perform at the parade by LOCOG and sang classics including Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner and Consider yourself.
Lesley worked in key roles during the Olympics and Paralympics.
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She got spectators to do the giant apple crunch in the Paralympics opening ceremony, assisted athletes in the closing ceremony and worked in event services.
She said: “We were extremely busy with lost children, lost grannies, lost parents, lost property.
“When I was on the train in my uniform, people would come up and talk to me about how everything was going. It was lovely.”
Lesley said she had to “pop morphine” at times because of the extreme pain she suffers with chronic rheumatoid arthritis.
She said: “I have to walk with a crutch but I’ve managed to stay out of a wheelchair. In 1997, doctors said I could be in one within two years.
“My husband died last year and the Olympics really focused me.”
Lesley was one of hundreds of Redbridge ambassadors, who she said were a “great inspiration”.
“It’s been a special year,” she added. “The Olympics have transformed my life, they’ve given me something unforgettable.”