Birmingham 2022 volunteer-applicant Chris Dunn-Veale believes that next year’s Commonwealth Games can have a similar impact on the country as the London 2012 Olympics.
The games start on July 28 and Dunn-Veale – one of 25,000 applicants – will find out if he’ll be part of the ‘Commonwealth Collective’ in January.
The man from Salisbury has experience helping out at big sporting events, having assisted at the London 2012 opening ceremony in Weymouth – which held events such as sailing and windsurfing.
“Myself, my dad and my son were involved in the Weymouth opening ceremony in 2012 – so we had three generations there,” said Dunn-Veale. “This feels like the next step.
“I was also part of the marshalling team when the flame came to Salisbury Cathedral in 2012. I helped bring it into the city, and then helped bring it out the next day.
“To have these games in our nation is a big thing and I’d love to be involved. London 2012 was a big boost for the country. At the time, there were lots of things going wrong in the world but London brought everybody back together. I think Birmingham can do the same.
“We can get new people to watch it on TV, watch it on their iPods and then they might think ‘I wouldn’t mind having a go at that’. That will give us the next generation of sports men and women.”
Only 13,000 of the 25,000 applicants will be at the games, and Dunn-Veale will find out in January if he’s been successful.
He attended an interview at the “amazing” Birmingham Library on November 12, in which he had the opportunity to show off his credentials. He was part of a group of 25 who were all looking to impress.
“What was really good about the group I was in – and I’m sure it was the same for the others – is that there were lots of different people there. I really liked that.
“There were people from all walks of life – students, people at retirement age, even a husband and wife team who had come down from Glasgow. Her husband had to wait on his own in the car for two hours, as his interview was after his wife’s.
“It was so heart-warming to see all of that.”
Dunn-Veale now faces a nervous wait to find out if he’s been successful. 25,000 doesn’t go into 13,000. About half will be at Birmingham in July, but some will face heartbreak and miss out.
“I would be over the moon to be a part of the ‘Commonwealth Collective’, but if I don’t get it, I’m still really proud of myself.
“Everybody I know has been saying, ‘you can do this, you’re going to smash it,’ but there’s a big chance I might not. Only 13,000 are going to get in.
“Everyone’s backing has been amazing. When I have a bad day, it pushes me through.”