A RETIRED teacher has jumped at the chance of volunteering at London 2012 – in memory of her Olympic judge husband.
Gillian Boothroyd from Mount hopes her late husband Sydney will be looking down on the Olympic poolside when events kick-off this weekend.
The mother-of-two’s role as an Olympic swimming volunteer will be assisting athletes as they compete.
Gill was inspired to apply for the position after a lifetime spent supporting her husband’s love of diving.
The former Yorkshire diving champion – who died from a brain haemorrhage in 2008 – was a renowned diving coach.
He also officiated as an Olympic judge at Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004.
“I’m sure he would have been involved in some way,” said Gillian.
“He loved working with the kids and doing the Olympics. He really enjoyed it.
“Hopefully he would have been offered something poolside.
“I think he would have been delighted if he knew what I was doing.
“I couldn’t not be involved in the diving. It was his sport and I’m just carrying it on.”
Sydney was a regular diving figure at Huddersfield Sports Centre.
He died while swimming at Halifax pool, aged just 62.
Gill, who taught at Salendine Nook High School, said: “He died with his trunks on. He had only been retired for two years. We were looking forward to seeing the diving together but it wasn’t meant to be.
“He would have loved to have watched Tom Daly and the local divers getting through and winning medals.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing it all and being part of it all.”
Gill, who has two sons Ian and Neil, will spend the next 15 days working eight-hour shifts.
She will cover either 6am to 2pm or 2pm to 10pm, working in the athletes’ reception area.
Luckily a relative in Chelmsford has offered her a place to stay and she will commute into London each day.
“I will be working across a few different venues covering the swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming,” she said.
“I have always been involved with diving as a recorder. I was the number cruncher.
“This time I will be there to support the athletes by showing them where to go and explaining how things will work.
“There has been a lot of training and it has worked out a bit expensive.
“But this is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is not going to come around in my life again.”
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