Manchester City Council

Veteran welcomes Olympic visitors to North West

A Normandy veteran who narrowly missed being selected for the 1948 London Olympics will be welcoming sports fans from across the world to Greater Manchester for this summer’s Olympic events.

Now, 88-year-old Bernard Morgan is encouraging other North West residents to get the Olympic buzz by coming forward to act as ambassadors, welcoming visitors from across the world to Manchester, Trafford and Salford.

Bernard, originally from Longsight, served as a code and cipher operator during the Normandy landings and used to run during his time with the RAF - narrowly missing out on a chance to represent his country to Bill Nankeville, who went on to win a world record.

Bernard, who still cycles four miles a day, worked as an ambassador during the Commonwealth Games, during which he stewarded at Piccadilly train station and gave tours around the city, and is looking forward to donning a uniform again to become the oldest ambassador working in Manchester.

He said: "I was a Manchester lad originally and I like to do anything to help the city do anything it can to promote itself.

"The Olympics will be an excellent advert for Manchester and an excellent advert for the country, and working as an ambassador means you can meet people you wouldn't normally meet and do things you wouldn't normally do."

Meanwhile, Samantha Coates, aged 17 and from Beswick, who is currently Manchester's Volunteer of the Year, and gives 10 hours of her time a week coaching at Manchester Tennis Centre, will also be working as an ambassador during the events.

Ambassadors will welcome visitors to Greater Manchester at the airport and major train stations, will help marshal outside Old Trafford Football Ground and the city centre live sites where people can watch Olympic and Paralympic events.

They will also steward the Olympic Torch Relay and may also help at other large events taking place during the build up to the Olympics such as the Great Manchester Swim in Salford Quays and the NBA event at the MEN Arena.

Eamonn O'Rourke, Manchester City Council's head of community and cultural services, said: "Working as an ambassador is an excellent way of getting involved in the Olympics as well as developing new skills and boosting your confidence.

"Every ambassador will receive excellent training, learning how to keep calm in a crisis and deal with difficult situations, and these new skills can later be used to help find jobs while people can also use them to help their local communities by working as volunteers."

Anyone who wants to become an ambassador should visit, with suitable candidates invited to interviews. All applicants must be available to volunteer on at least four of the event days between July and August.