Nurse Ready for Olympic Adventure

Staff Nurse Jaki Bennett from the Princess Royal Hospital is swapping her blue uniform for a purple London 2012 outfit as she gets ready to go to the Olympic Games.

Jaki, who works on the Acute Medical Unit (AMU) in Telford, came through an exhausting selection process to be chosen as a volunteer to work at the Games, which got underway with a spectacular opening ceremony on Friday evening. She heads to London on Friday and will be working next week at Earl’s Court for the volleyball tournament.

The mother-of-two admits she does not know much about volleyball, but is looking forward to soaking up the special Olympic atmosphere that has already been evident over the last few days and nights. Success for Team GB would doubtless make the experience even more special for Jaki – and cannot be ruled out, with the women’s volleyball team securing a first ever Olympic win by beating Algeria 3-2 in a match that finished at gone midnight this morning.

“My role will be to meet and greet spectators, to make sure they find their seats and they know where they are going and so on,” said Jaki, who has worked on the AMU for two-and-a-half years, having also been a student nurse in Telford. “I’m really looking forward to it.

“I went for an interview last September at Warwick University and I was just pleased to get that far, to be honest. There were thousands there, but they were looking for people who are friendly and re-assuring, and that’s exactly what I try to be. At work, I hardly ever get any confrontation.

“I’m not a particularly enthusiastic sports fan but I like helping people and this really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I didn’t actually find out I’d been successful until May but I can’t wait now – I’ve been on training, including going to the venue so I know what I will be doing. I’ve done my homework on volleyball too, so I know what will be going on!”

Volunteers have to arrange their own accommodation during the Games but Jaki, who lives on a farm near Telford, has family in London who are only too happy to put her up. And she is also grateful to her landlord, who has helped her get hold of some tickets to go to the equestrian team dressage finals, which handily fall at a time when she will not be working.

“I didn’t apply for tickets because I didn’t know what my shifts at work would be,” she added. “But I’m delighted to be going to the equestrian dressage finals. I can’t wait for the whole Olympic experience.”

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Pete White Pete White

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