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Timperley man could be oldest Olympic volunteer
A 78-year-old Timperley man may have been the oldest volunteer at the London Olympics, in the realisation of a lifelong dream which he nearly did not achieve.
Sean Sharkey, of Edenhurst Drive, thought he would have to drop out of the role due to a lack of accommodation and difficulty in arranging care for his wife who suffers from Parkinson’s, but his dream was kept alive by the kindness of a fellow volunteer.
“I went to a training session on March 29 and I told myself that if I couldn’t find anywhere to stay by May 12 I would drop out,” said Sean.
During a break in training Sean mentioned his situation to fellow volunteer, Anne Parker.
“A fortnight later she rang me and said her husband and herself had agreed that I could stay as long as I liked. I still get emotional about it.
“When I looked up the address I realised that their house is about 300 yards from Buckingham Palace and within a stone’s throw from Birdcage Walk, Big Ben, St James’ Park and Parliament.
“I had the most marvelous five weeks walking around on my days off.”
Sean also thoroughly enjoyed his volunteering at the Uniform Distribution and Accreditation Centre, which he describes as the last line of defence to make sure everyone working and volunteering at the games had the correct accreditation.
Sean works at the car park at Marks and Spencer, Prestwich, and regularly chats to local customer, Danny Boyle, who he saw again at the games.
“He was absolutely amazed to see me there,” said Sean.
Sean’s daughter, Tracey Ratcliffe, said the whole family is extremely proud of him.
“He’s the sort of person that never does anything for himself, he never goes on holiday and he cares for my mum, so this was something really nice for him to do for himself.”