A UNIVERSITY of Ulster staff member is settling back into the daily routine after volunteering at the London Olympic Games.
Paul Gilpin (41) is the UU’s web manager.
He was one of 70,000 volunteers known as ‘Games Makers’ working at the spectacular event.
Paul’s role, as part of a specialist team, was updating the London 2012 website.
Recalling his ‘once in a lifetime experience’ Paul said: “The whole volunteering experience was incredible from start to finish.
“It was hard work, and at times stressful, but I loved every minute of my time in London.
“I will definitely volunteer again here in Coleraine and abroad – in fact my application to be a volunteer at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia has already been submitted. My application for the next Summer Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 will be a certainty too!
“As a Games volunteer we were very busy in our teams working on various parts of the website during our shifts.
“Everyone involved had a real ‘can-do’ approach and help from a colleague, if you ever needed it, was always on hand.
“Most of the team manage websites professionally, so if there were any problems we’d just ask each other. It was fantastic working in a team with such a wealth of professional website experience and knowledge to draw upon.”
With around 6,000 members of the world’s media at the games, Paul says there was a real buzz around the place.
“Aside from the fabulously rich TV coverage, the website was one of the main ways that people accessed and enjoyed the Games. Consequently our team had to get it right,” added Paul.
“At peak times we were asked to issue a London 2012 tweet every 15 minutes to make sure people had up-to-date information. As you can imagine it was pretty full on!” said Paul.
During the games, the website had 431 million site visits, 109 million unique users, 15 million mobile application downloads, 4.73 billion page views and 4.7 million social followers.
Putting those figures further into context and the website reached three times more people than the BBC’s Olympic website, reaching twice as many people as the BBC’s TV coverage.
Paul went on: “It’s fantastic to reflect on what we achieved as volunteers and I am rightly proud of what we helped deliver. Seb Coe’s Closing Ceremony words that ‘The Games Makers made London 2012’ have left me grinning from ear to ear.”
Paul is passionate about sport and does a lot himself including, cycling, kayaking and snowboarding.