The Olympic volunteering spirit survives at The Lowry with a disco inspired sing-long!

Former Greater Manchester Policeman, Lowry VIP and Olympic Games Maker Duncan Shuttleworth chats to us about his volunteering experiences, as well as his starring role in a brand new Lotto Good Causes film celebrating the Olympic volunteering legacy.

A year ago 70,000 ordinary British people were inspired by London 2012 to give up some of their spare time to help deliver the greatest show on earth.

Nearly 12 months on, the Games are over but the Olympic spirit is very much alive in all corners of the UK thanks to the hundreds of Games Makers and London Ambassadors still volunteering.

‘National Lottery volunteers present’ is a unique music video that celebrates the Games Makers and London Ambassadors now volunteering at National Lottery funded projects like The Lowry across the UK. The film champions the individuals making a difference in their local communities by shining a spotlight on the projects they support and showcasing the great work they do – all of this whilst singing along to a specially written ‘Volunteers’ Anthem’ to the backing track of “I Will Survive”!

Lotto Good Causes came to The Lowry to film Duncan and we caught up with him to find out how it all went…

Hi Duncan, thanks for agreeing to chat to us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from and what you did for a living?

I’m originally from Birmingham but now I live in Boothstown which is in Salford…just! I came to Manchester when I joined the police in 1981 and served 30 years before retiring in 2011. In my early career I worked on the beat in the Salford area (mostly Eccles and Irlam).

When did you begin volunteering at The Lowry and what inspired you to take up the post?

I began volunteering in September 2011 straight after retirement. The volunteer recruitment process was just a couple of months before I was due to retire so it seemed like fate that I should go for it. My wife and I have been regular patrons of the theatre since it opened and I was keen to give something back for all the enjoyment we have received. It was also an opportunity to experience a completely new environment and meet lots of new people.

My role includes checking tickets and directing patrons to their seats in the theatres. Selling programmes and other merchandise and operating the cloakroom. I generally ensure that Lowry patrons have an enjoyable, positive experience at the theatre.

Could you give me a couple of your favourite experiences as a volunteer at The Lowry?

I really enjoy dealing with the Primary School groups that come to the theatre, particularly for the Christmas shows. On one occasion a single school booked all the tickets for a performance of Arabian Nights and it was amazing to see their community come in and take over the Quays Theatre! I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a noisier place!!

I was also lucky enough to be involved in the launch event for White Christmas which took place at an indoor ski centre. It was fascinating to see the media at work.

How do you feel about being featured in the National Lottery’s film to encourage others to volunteer?

It was good fun working with the film crew, although I’m not sure the viewing public should be subjected to my singing voice! Volunteering should be about making a difference but having some fun at the same time. I hope the film demonstrates the range of different volunteering roles that are available and will encourage more people to get involved.

What were the highlights of volunteering at the Olympic Games for you, and have you been inspired to find further opportunities to volunteer?

I was involved in distributing uniforms and then the anti-doping operation at the football competition in Glasgow. I am now going through the recruitment process to be a volunteer at next year’s Commonwealth Games, again in Glasgow. As a lifelong sports fan, it was amazing to be involved in such a massive event and I’m really hoping to get another chance in 2014.

I’m a keen runner and I’m part of the volunteer team which organises the weekly parkrun event that takes place in HeatonPark every Saturday morning. We regularly attract 300-400 runners to our free event and it’s great to see people of all shapes and sizes, young and old, and especially family groups getting out there and enjoying the park.

With the Salford Country Ranger Service I regularly join a working party of volunteers at BlackleachCountryPark in Walkden. We help to keep the site tidy and accessible by cutting back trees and undergrowth, repairing paths, clearing ponds, building benches and many other tasks.

A little further afield I also volunteer as a Garden Steward for the National Trust at Dunham Massey. Unlike most similar properties, the gardens at Dunham stay open to the public all year round so there is a greater need for volunteers there and I’ve been there in sun, rain and snow!

Check out National Lottery Volunteers Present… and keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of Duncan at The Lowry!

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