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My trials and tribulations as volunteer for Olympic VIPs; From wearing a silver medal... to getting the Puerto Rican dignitaries lost in London.


A TRANSLATOR had the "best time ever" volunteering at the Olympics - despite ending up on the front page of a Puerto Rican newspaper for getting the island's VIPs lost in London.

Although having never driven in the capital before, Lois Jones from Ruthin was appointed "family assistant" which meant she was PA and chaperone to the elite.

But the 36-year-old's first task was fraught with error as problems with the satellite navigation system left her baffled as to where she was going.

What should have been a 35-minute car journey from their hotel to the Olympic Village, ended up taking two-and-a-half hours.

Her exploits hit the headlines in the Puerto Rican Press, but luckily the VIPs, including the president of the Puerto Rican Olympics Committee, took it in good humour. Lois said: "It was absolutely terrifying driving around London, I didn't have a clue where I was going.

"Even though the journey was almost four times longer than it should have been, everyone was pretty understanding, which was lucky.

"Back home my friends and family thought it was hilarious saying I was trying to sabotage the Olympics by kidnapping important members of the committee.

"It was funny because the story even made the news."

Lois - a translator at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd in Wrexham - applied to be an Olympic volunteer a number of years ago and was selected six months ago because of her ability to speak Spanish.

"I was delighted to be called as a volunteer," she said. "I got to see the rehearsal for the opening ceremony as well as some of the major events it's been the best time ever.

"Walking around the Olympic Stadium, I kept on having to pinch myself. Everyone is so friendly and it was lovely how perfect strangers from all across the world would come over and tell you you're doing a brilliant job."

Lois documented her experience by posting pictures up on social networking site, Facebook including photographs of everything from great sporting moments to photos of her with Puerto Rican athlete, Javier Culson as well as comedian Eddie Izzard.

She is even photographed wearing Puerto Rican's champion wrestler Jaime Espinal's silver medal.

She added: "I couldn't say one particular thing has been a highlight - the whole experience has given me the time of my life."

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 14, 2012
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