The Tales and Travels of Taylor Made PA – Volunteering at Euro 2020
Have you missed me?
You may have noticed I have been rather absent the past few weeks. I have a good excuse! I have been volunteering at the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament and have a ball! Pardon the pun!
Road to the Final
I’ve talked previously about my amazing time as a Volunteer Games Maker at London 2012. And it was that amazing experience that first made me apply to be a volunteer at Euro 2020.
What you may not realise, I have worked in Football for around 15 years – almost 13 years in the Ticketing Team at Watford FC. So the opportunity to work at one of the biggest tournaments in World Football was something I had to try for,
I was really lucky by also being selected to be a Volunteer Scout – or Interviewer – to be part of the Team that actually Interviewed the potential volunteers. What a privilege!
So in May 2019 – with the newly created freedom that Self Employment gave me, I headed to Wembley for my Scout Training, overlooking the pitch, which was preparing for the FA Cup Final. (Which Watford were in and lost!)
We started the Scouting “Missions” in August 2019. There was a team of 70 of us to interview 2000 successful candidates from the whopping 37,000 that applied.
It was so good to meet so many interesting people from all walks of like. Many of which, like me first volunteered at London 2012.
We were based out of the Media Suite at the Stadium and it was so inspiring to Interview overlooking the pitch where the final would be played.
The London UEFA Euro 2020 team looked after us well, keeping us fed and watered with plenty of snacks and sweets!
We completed our Scouting Missions in November 2019 with plenty of successful candidates and the benefit of having been able to choose our own preferred roles. I chose to work in Ticketing but for the VIP & Protocol Team. Using my experience from London 2012 and Watford.
In February 2020 we had a Scouts Meet Up looking forward to the tournament which should have been fast approaching.
Then in March 2020 Covid-19 took over the World and then the news we dreaded the tournament would have to be delayed for a year.
Heart breaking for those athletes that worked so hard to be in contention.
Training for Success
A year later than planned in April 2021 we reaccepted our roles. Many sadly had to change their role due the reduced capacities and changes required to comply with Covid Protocols. And in May we commenced our Training. Again moved online to assist with Social Distancing.
But in June we were finally allowed to head to Wembley Stadium in person to complete our Role Specific Training and have a tour of what would become our home for 8 magnificent games.
With Training completed and my uniform collected. My jacket tailored to fit, we were match ready!
Having watch the opening ceremony on TV on Sunday 13th June we headed to Wembley for our first Match Day! England vs. Croatia.
Despite my experience at the Olympics I had no expectations of the Euros.
The nature of the role and our location within the Stadium meant we were far removed from the Atmosphere inside the Stadium. But we were the first point of contact for most of our VIP Guests – the VVIP’s entered from underneath the Stadium and not via us, but that didn’t stop us from greeting some amazing guests over the 8 games.
The first game alone, saw the likes of Callum Best – albeit in the wrong place, but what a lovely man!, Roberto Carlos, David James, David Moyes all come through our doors. And most importantly saw England win their first opening game!
And then the Scotland Game soon was on us and so was the British Weather. I arrive absolutely soaked through and had to go and get a new skirt that could actually be worn before I could start. And thank god I did. As the likes of Melanie Chisolm, Sir Alex Ferguson, Lorraine Kelly walked through our doors. Lets not talk about my hair though!
Then came my dream call – will you come and support egress on the VVIP Entrance and maybe escort David Beckham to his car… I’M THERE!!!!!! What an experience and what a legend. He was truly everything I wanted him to be. Polite, Engaging and oh so Charming. We talked about the game and England’s chance of progressing. And I possibly overstayed my welcome. Sorry David and Romeo!
By Royal Appointment
The last group game against the Czech Republic saw more amazing guests come through our doors. Many now recognising us and greeting us as much as we greeted them. We also had the added excitement of The Duke of Cambridge, in his role as President of the FA, joining us for his first game!
But my Royal encounter came, not with the Duke but his cousin Peter!
I received a call to say the VIP Lounges were clear and stood down the transport and headed back from the VIP Drop Zone to the Stadium. Then just after I returned to the Stadium, two men came down the stairs and asked about transport back to the delegate hotel. It was then I noticed my guest was in fact The Princess Royals son, Peter Phillips. Well I wasn’t admitting I’d sent the transport home, so after a quick radio call in warning to get a car arranged, I walked them up to the drop zone. I used to time to talk to Peter about my Olympic Experience and watching his sister get her Silver Medal. Shortly after we arrived at the drop zone a car was despatched, and just before he headed off Peter gave me a grateful hug before departing.
Knock Out Games
So England made it to the knock out stages!
We were finding many of the guests returning and it was lovely to start to feel you were getting to know these footballers that you had watched from afar for many years. David James, David Seaman, Robbie Keane.
And at the Semi Final I finally got to meet my first Football Hero and the man responsible for my deep love for the game. The best of his generation. Someone with more natural skill than most. Paul Gascoigne. And he held my hand and I helped in into the Stadium.
Could this get any better for me. David Beckham, Paul Gascoigne.
Well I put out a call out for a missing Mo Farah and then took pictures of him and his son for him which he shared on his Social Media! I shared a lift with Peter Crouch and Kate Moss. I even arranged the transport home for Middletons & Mattthews!
So, England in the Semi Final – WOW! If that wasn’t amazing enough alone, I had an unexpected highlight. I received a message to say Gareth’s Southgate’s parents were waiting for their tickets to come. So I brought them inside and sat them on some seats at the back of our area. And we talked about the game and Gareth. Watching him play and watching him Manage. And off they went to watch and I wished them luck.
After England secured that amazing and historic result to make the final, I was at the bottom of the escalators to wish our guests a safe journey home when I spotted Gareth’s parents coming down. On seeing me smiling up, Gareth’s mum gave me a beaming smile and on reaching the bottom reached out and gave me a massive hug. She was so happy for her boy and I was delighted for her.
Where else would I be celebrating with the England Manager’s mum if I wasn’t volunteering?
For the first time in 55 years England were in the final of a major tournament! Was it coming home?
I am not going to go into the details. But sadly what should have been the most fabulous end to a magnificent journey was soured because of the actions of mindless idiots. Safety of Guests and Volunteers was compromised and that isn’t acceptable. These are not the actions of fans.
But we had the most amazing time. We met so many amazing people. Both fellow volunteers and VIP Guests. I’d change the final result for sure. I watched the penalties from the Royal Box stood just behind Boris Johnson in his No. 10 Boris England top! But everything else was just amazing. And I am oh so proud of our young lions. Something that even the Golden generation of Beckham, Gerrard and Lampard failed to do. They got us to the final. And I was there.
Time to Volunteer
So would you like to give back to a sport you love? I highly recommend volunteering. It offers to many amazing experiences.
And remember if you want to make time to do something like this, there is always a helping hand to support you in your business whilst you support your sporting love.
Want to know more how to create time in your diary to spend time doing what you love?
Book in a Chemistry Call today. www.bit.ly/TaylorMadePA
Until next time!