I first got involved with athletics through supporting our youngest daughter, who completed regularly for Newport Harriers and then Cardiff Archers. I’ve always believed that it’s important to help and volunteer where I can. Whether it be through a school PTA or as a school governor. Children really benefit from those who volunteer, in whatever setting. Whilst I enjoyed watching athletics, it was obvious that unless parents volunteered to help many competitions would struggle to run. I initially responded to a call for help from Cardiff Archers and attended a short level 1 officiating course. I started to volunteer fairly regularly and soon found that I was ‘working’ alongside a really friendly bunch of experienced officials. Without exception, all were keen to pass on their experience and help me develop my knowledge and experience. It soon became obvious how pleased they were to see people returning and helping out where they can. As an official I soon saw a consistent theme. Whilst all of the officials enjoyed what they did, they only did it because of the athletes. Just about every briefing I’ve attended finishes with ‘Don’t forget we’re here for the athletes’.
Having officiated for around 4 years I’ve made some really good friends, many of whom no longer have family members competing, but they all recognise that if they don’t turn up the competitions don’t go ahead. So a call to all parents out there, please get involved, don’t leave it up to others whilst you sit on the sidelines. I realise that it’s not for everyone, but if you can spare some time it would be great to see the numbers of officials grow.