Sunday, 10 June 2012

Ten years on: 2002 to 2012

Yesterday was the Manchester Day Parade and I'm massively proud to be able to say that I took part in it.

My original pass - you change a lot in 10 years!
Ten years ago, when I was a young thing (well, ish), I volunteered to work at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. I still believe it's one of the best things I ever did.

I worked in the accreditation office at SportCity, ensuring that anyone visiting the site was given the correct pass, with the correct access to whichever site they were needed at. This basically involved lots of printing and laminating of passes, handing them out and generally acting as reception cum security in a little portacabin.

We met athletes, television presenters, commentators, ambassadors, coaches, flagbearers - if they had to collect a pass, they had to come through our office. One of my team met Matt Dawson (she got his autograph for me, which I still have and have never forgotten that she did that for me).

Kit, Dave and myself.
We saw the Royals, watched some of the events (for myself the finals of the Rugby 7s and shot put and javelin stick in my mind). We watched  both the rehearsals for the opening and closing ceremonies (I can distinctly remember walking in one early morning, listening to Russell Watson's voice echoing around the Stadium) and the events themselves (sitting in the press boxes... sneaky).

We also got to work with other volunteers - some of whom we'd have never met in other circumstances - older, younger, richer, poorer. All walks of life, character and person. And you know what? We all bloody loved it. I've yet to meet anyone who didn't enjoy themselves, working as a team, the atmosphere, the pride we had in our city. We gave up our time (I took two weeks holiday from work, as did many others), worked shifts, caught buses early and late in the day; and loved every minute of it.

And so today, we got to celebrate the anniversary - ten years on, we're all different, older, greyer, wiser (I hope), but still as in love with our city then as now.

The atmosphere was amazing and once we'd gathered together, put on our 'medals'  and 'crowns', we heard the bang which heralded the start of the parade.

I've never waved or smiled so much in my life. I don't want to think about how much our photos were snapped, but we were welcomed, cheered and clapped. Our 'athlete' struggled a bit, but we pushed, pulled and pedalled on, to get him around the route.

I saw friends of mine on the way round, which made it all the sweeter.

The best bit for me, was when we entered Albert Square. We were announced to the crowd and a cheer went up. That will stay with me for a long time I think. Yes, we gave up another Sunday for Mancland. And we'd happily do it again.

Thank you Manchester. I still love you, after all these years.


  1. So THAT'S what MCRDay was all about! Saw it mentioned on Twitter but had no idea what it was about and what was happening! Jen x

  2. One of the many elements of it :o)

    It's just a massive celebration of Manchester - first time I've taken part and it was brilliant! Maybe we should get the local WIs to do a big section next year??

    1. Ooh good idea! I didn't realise it was a yearly thing! Then again it's like I live with my head in a box sometimes! Jen x