Post by: Gerarda on 15 Aug 2013

(This Post was written by Susannah Jayes, Picture Editor and writer from London and contributor to my blog. Susannah has also written Magenta Magicians, and A Canterbury Tale.)



It’s summer, so London must be turning pink again! Following on from the 2012 Olympics, the London Ambassadors are back (by popular demand!). In all, around 1000 of the volunteers who served during the London Olympics were back in their distinctive pink uniforms – updated for this year in a new yet equally loud shade of magenta – located at around a dozen popular tourist spots across the capital. London Mayor Boris Johnson was very keen to build on the legacy of the Olympic Games and under the banner ‘Team London’, many of us – including myself – joined up again to provide a warm welcome and hopefully useful information to visitors from across the world.

As readers of this blog may know, I was part Susannahof the Flying Squad last year and really enjoyed my time at the Olympic Stadium and elsewhere. This year, I was back in the Flying Squad (still no helicopters, alas!), but this time I was stationed mainly in the bustling piazza at Covent Garden – site of the original flower market, (which incidentally appeared in the film My Fair Lady with the lovely Audrey Hepburn). Before the flower market, many hundreds of years ago it was the location for a garden for a convent – hence the name.

I also made a brief flying visit to help my team-mates at Picadilly Ciricus. Once again the camaraderie was fantastic and the questions I was asked were many and varied – ranging from “Where can I find a Summer Pudding for my lunch?” to “I’ve lost my boyfriend – can you help?”. I am pleased to say that I was able to direct the lady to a fine restaurant nearby that offered Summer Pudding on its menu  (after some Internet research), but the problem of the lost boyfriend was slightly more tricky, involving phone calls and emails to her fiancée via Chile! The outcome was somewhat uncertain, but I do hope she managed to find him in the end!

Covent Garden, as you may know, is always a hive of activity, with many street entertainers and crowds of people flocking around the many market stalls. I got to know some of the street stall-holders, including the magic man nearby, who sold magic tricks and paraphernalia. There were also many things going on, including beach volleyball (with real sand), and many TV camera crews doing filming for various shows – maybe you’ll see me on the Discovery Channel – I’m the one in pink in the background – you can’t miss me!

I had a great time again meeting so many people from across the globe and they seemed to be genuinely delighted that we were there to help. Even if we couldn’t always give the exact information they needed, we were, I hope, always polite and smiling and the visitors seemed to really appreciate that. I am sure we will all be back next year, so please do keep any eye out for us if you are in London in 2014. We are there to help!



Categories: Culture,Stockholm Dental Clinic News,Volunteer
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Posted on Thursday 15th August 2013 at 2:15 pm

Patient´s Olympic Experience

Post by: Gerarda on 10 Apr 2013

One of our patients, Susannah Jayes, is a Picture Researcher from London and was fortunate enough (actually, clever enough) to be chosen as an Ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Her knowledge of British history, her general knowledge of London and her overwhelming ability to enter into the spirit of a mission, earned her a place in the Flying Squad. We thought you would be interested in hearing about her experience.


London Ambassador – “MAGENTA MAGICIANS”

The Olympics and Paralympic Games came to London in 2012 and I joined in, becoming one of an 8,000-strong group of London Ambassadors, whose role was to welcome millions of visitors from around the world and help them to explore London. I have never particularly enjoyed sport,Susannah with Eddie Izzard but the Olympics was a great chance to get involved in a once-in-a lifetime global event, right on my doorstep in London. I also think that the term ‘Ambassador’ must have appealed to me (Ferrero Rocher chocolates spring to mind!), so I was delighted when I was selected for the London Ambassadors’ Flying Squad Division (alas no helicopters or planes!). The training consisted of role-playing and quizzes about London and I entered into the Olympic spirit with gusto. During one session, the London Ambassadors even set a World Record for a Treasure Hunt around London landmarks, with 466 volunteers taking part.

In June, my uniform duly arrived – in lovely shades of pink and magenta, complete with a natty straw trilby hat – and in July, as a great bonus, I attended the Opening Ceremony rehearsal at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, where I had a fantastic view of the remarkable spectacle that, a few days later, dazzled the world.

During the Games, I was based at mainly Canary Wharf and the Olympic Stadium. I had the most amazing time, as my fellow ambassadors were such a great bunch, from all walks of life. I made some good friends and I have never laughed so much. We all did our best to welcome everyone, give out maps and help with their questions. One Swedish visitor randomly asked me who Henry VIII’s third wife was. Hopefully my answer of Jane Seymour was correct (my History teacher would have been proud that I actually remembered something from her class!). Among the many great people I met were a British Gold Medal winner from the 1952 Olympic Games and Eddie Izzard, the comedian and actor, who was Chief Games Maker. Eddie was lovely! The weather was hot and sunny, which helped enormously, and all the visitors said how much they enjoyed the Games and how welcoming London had been, so it was really fulfilling to know that I had contributed to London’s huge success.

After the Games were over, I was lucky enough to attend the Olympic and Paralympic Parade on the Mall,where we all had a great time cheering our heroes like Mo Farah, Ellie Simmonds, Jess Ennis and Sir Chris Hoy. What was really special, though, was how much the athletes appreciated the volunteers’ efforts and how they made a point of thanking us all. That made my day!

SusannahMayor Boris Johnson wants the work of London Ambassadors to continue and I recently joined my fellow Ambassadors in Trafalgar Square when NFL American Football came to town. I am so pleased that the Ambassadors will go on, because the camaraderie between the volunteers and their willingness to give up their time to represent London to the world was absolutely marvellous. For me, it was an honour to be a London Ambassador and a welcome break from my work as a picture researcher, which is mostly home-based, with not much personal interaction, so I am really looking forward our next event, whatever that might be. If you should see us in London in the future, please do stop and say hello. We’ll be the ones in pink – you can’t miss us!

Susannah Jayes –