If we listen to the Politicians dancing their dance to catch a little stardust from the Olympics, we hear the word Legacy used, or should we say over used. Will there be a Legacy for the Olympians or the Paralympians? Elite athletes will become so because of their character, their dedication to training and their desire to succeed. Funding for elite athletes will by it’s nature take funding away from main stream sport. The enthusiasm engendered by the Olympics will slowly slip away as the winter comes and running and cycling will be only for the committed. The other Legacy was that of the Volunteers, the Games Makers. Without them and the army this would have been a very different experience. Just imagine the cheerful faces of the G4S staff culled from the ranks of the unemployed and un-employable. No, I thought you couldn’t. However as the Politicians speachify and grandiose of that legacy, take a step back. This weekend I did my bit for the RNLI. As you might suppose, they had more sense than letting me play with their Big Boy’s (or Girl’s) Toys but they do let me count the money at their open day. What I saw and can report is a large team of Volunteers that give three hours each monday to training and are on call 24/7 to come to our aid in circumstances that may be extremely hazardous and at time exceedingly unpleasant. At the open day they were supported by the Volunteer Coast Guard and the local retain Fire Brigade. In coastal areas, rural communities and the mountains and moorlands of Great Britain, teams of selfless men and women are available all through the year as Volunteers to support and protect their fellow man(and woman). These people are highly trained, highly competent and without them this country would be a poorer place. They work seemlessly with their professional colleagues. In the Highland we also rely on the Red Cross and the First Responders to supplement our medical response teams. However this is but the tip of an iceberg for volunteers. There are all those coaches, referees, and linesmen without whom amateur sport would not be available. WRVS, Rotary, Round Table. Even the Community Councillors who dedicate hours of their time to local Communities. Volunteering is not a Legacy of the Games. It is a feature of our Society that provided the Games Makers for the Olympics and the Paralympics. They have been here and always will be as long as we have people in our communities that care. Why do people put their lives on the line and dedicate so much time in this way? Basically it is because they enjoy it. They are part of a team and gain the camaraderie from that experience. They also want to help. They aren’t the ones who stand and watch. They are the doers and we should appreciate their dedication. So Mr. Cameron, there is no legacy from the Vounteers because they were always there. They are an intrinsic part of what makes this country Great!
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