As the World Police and Fire Games (WPFG) get officially underway this weekend, spare a thought for Lisburn woman Dawn McAuley.
Long before the Games had even started officially yesterday (Thursday), Dawn was pacing the shopping centres of Northern Ireland, getting the message of the Games out to people.
Currently she is working in a Volunteer Innovatior role, which basically means she is promoting the Games around the country.
“I was down at the Lisburn Half Marathon and at the LeisurePlex recently handing out goodies,” said Dawn. “There was a lot of positive feedback from everyone we met so hopefully that translates into people who come along to the events.
“That has been the same everywhere we have gone. I’ve been to Enniskillen and Derry/Londonderry and everyone has been so enthusiastic. Social media has been red hot too.”
The World Police and Fire Games are the third biggest international sporting event in the world. Over 2,000 competitors from 66 countries are expected to arrive in Northern Ireland, along with 15,000 friends and family members in tow. Around 3,600 volunteers have been enlisted to look after the event.
“It’s a lot of hard work but there is an incredible amount of enthusiasm from the volunteers,” said Dawn.
“Everyone is looking out for everyone and I’ve made a lot of new friends already.
“They’ve billed the Games as the ‘Friendliest Games Ever’ and I think that the volunteers are testament to that. Quite a few of them were involved in the London Olympics last year and everyone remembers how important the volunteers were in making that a success.”
Once the promotional work ends Dawn will be involved in an official capacity at the T20 cricket at Stormont.
“My background has mostly been in athletics and tennis so it will be nice to get involved in something a bit out of my comfort zone,” she added.
“There are lots of other fun and unusual events taking place such as the ultimate firefighter and the stair climbing, so it’s fun for all the family.”
All of the WPFG events are free to the public and no tickets are necessary, except for the events at the Waterfront which include boxing and wrestling.