AMANDA SET FOR RUSSIA
July 10 2013.
At an age when most people are thinking of putting their feet up, a 68 year-old Newhaven woman has entered the most exciting phase of her life which began at the London 2012 Olympics.
When Amanda Wilkins from South Road in Newhaven applied to be a volunteer at London 2012 she never dreamt it would lead to her winning a prestigious National Award and travelling to Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"I applied to work for Press Operations as I have been a journalist all my life," explains Amanda. "I was called for interview very quickly and was amazed when I was offered the role of Flash Quote Reporter at Wimbledon."
Amanda's Olympic journey began in January 2012, when she was asked to perform the role at the Womens Gymnastic Competition at the 02 Arena.
"That was very exciting, as I had never seen gymnastics live and it gave me an opportunity to learn my job in a more relaxed atmosphere before the Games began.
"With all the training, London 2012 virtually took up the first six months of the year, and the Games period itself was very exciting.
"I got quotes from all the top players. Tsonga, the Bryan brothers, Djokovitch, and I saw Andy Murray win his gold medal. I was also given a free ticket to the dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony which was amazing," she said.
When the Games ended Amanda did not stop. She attended the Victory Parade and marched behind the athletes.
" I was selected to take part in the Olympic Parade at the Christmas Horse Show at Olympia with the British equestrian medallists and I am doing the same thing at Hickstead on August the 2nd," she said.
Wanting to continue volunteering, Amanda qualified as a Sportsmaker and has clocked up 94 hours so far. This has led to her winning the Community Games Shine A Light Award for Sussex, which is linked to the online anniversary torch relay, and she is receiving her Award on Tuesday the 16th of July, the day the torch reaches Sussex. As it reaches Kent the following day, the two counties are combining and the ceremony takes place in a dinghy on Bewl Water, where there will be a boat for Sussex and a boat for Kent.
The icing on the cake for Amanda is travelling to Sochi on the Black Sea coast in February 2014 to work as a volunteer Flash Quote Reporter at the Winter Olympics.
"I heard last week that I had been successful and I am very excited. The Russians are being very hospitable and have built a new apartment block so the volunteers get free accommodation."
Unfazed by age, Amanda now has her sights set on the Rio 2018 Olympics.