Holiday fun as a games volunteer
ALEX Bliss, from Ash Vale, has never been reluctant to give up her time to help others enjoy sport, regularly volunteering her evenings and weekends to get people involved in local clubs.
This month, however, she has gone a step further and devoted her summer holiday to helping out at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The 38-year-old sent in her application to be a Clydesider, as the volunteers are affectionately known, last January and now she is in the thick of the action at the quadrennial event.
Ms Bliss is acting as an adviser to photographers at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow, where the netball is taking place.
“Lots of photographers turn up to the court having never seen a game of netball in their lives,” she said this week.
“I give them the help they need to do their work – I explain the rules to them, point out the best positions to take photos from and talk them through the programme of matches.
“The atmosphere in the arena is absolutely great,” she continued. “During the breaks there are always activities in the crowd, like kiss camera; it’s actually really fun to watch.
“Lots of people have said how surprised they are by how fun they have found netball and what a great game it is to watch.
“The shifts tend to be about six hours long, but they look after us really well,” she added.
Ms Bliss, who works for an IT firm in Bracknell, is a Join In Local Leader for Surrey, where she acts as an advocate for volunteering in the community and encouraging people to try out sports.
Two years ago she was a Games Maker at the London Olympics, so knows her way around large sporting events.
“I have always really like sport,” she said.
“But you begin to know the limitations of how good you’re going to be quite early on.
“Being part of these games is something no one can ever take away from you. This is my holiday for the year.
“I’ve been lucky to see some great sport,” she said. “The experience has been wonderful and I would really encourage other people to do it.”
Alex Bliss volunteering at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, posing next to Thistle, one of 25 official mascots of the games.