Olympic superfan Beryl shares memories of volunteering at London 2012

Olympic superfan Beryl shares memories of volunteering at London 2012 zoom

Ahead of the Paris Olympics, former track judge and athletics club president Beryl Stratton recalls the part she played in the London 2012 Olympics.

Self-confessed Olympic addict Beryl, aged 85, is counting down the days until the games begin and happily shares her stories, and her prized memorabilia, with fellow residents at The Spinney, a dementia and palliative care specialist home in Chingford.

In 1990, Beryl trained to be a track judge and gained her level 5 qualification. As an international athletic track official, she worked at both the Commonwealth Games and Invictus Games.

Athletics was a huge part of both Beryl and husband Roy’s lives. Roy, who sadly died last year, worked for UK Athletics for most of his career and was also had the honour of being an Olympic torch bearer. Beryl was an athletics league secretary, and president of Middlesex County athletics.

But it was the couple’s shared experience of being chosen as stadium volunteers providing backroom support to competitors at the London 2012 Olympics that is Beryl’s brightest memory.

“Roy and I always loved the special thrill of the Olympics,” said Beryl. “We attended both the Sydney and Atlanta Olympics, so being an integral part of our country hosting the games was a pure joy.

“I have always lived in the East End, so it made it extra special having the Olympics on our doorstep.

“It was amazing to be involved in something so special and memorable, I love to look back at our Olympics memorabilia. The uniform was so distinctive with its shades of regal purple and poppy red, I still get a buzz of excitement when I wear it!”

Renata Karklina, lifestyle coordinator at The Spinney, added: “We love hearing our residents’ stories, and Beryl has certainly had a rich and interesting life.

“My favourite story of Beryl’s is the time she was a track judge for Usain Bolt, what an incredible experience that must have been, to be an official for the greatest sprinter of all time!”

Lisa Wright, home manager at The Spinney, added: “We’re really passionate about ensuring our residents can maintain their interests. Athletics and in particular the Olympics is such a life-long passion for Beryl, so we encourage her to share her memories.

“It was fabulous that Sue was able to bring in some of Beryl’s treasured memorabilia, everyone loved seeing it and hearing Beryl’s stories.”

The Spinney offers residential, dementia and end of life care, they are rated ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and won a Great British Care Award in 2023 for ‘Dignity in Care’.