95 Brits have applied to volunteer at the FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games (23 August-7 September), some spurred on by the example of the London 2012 Olympics’ band of volunteer Games Makers.
Organisers told H&H they will “assign positions to as many as possible”.
“There will be many jobs where fluent English is required,” said head of volunteers Samuel Hallifax.
“Only 800 of the 3,000 positions will be close to the field of play, or horses — the remaining 2,200 are the same as for any large event structure.”
Patrick Head is a Normandy-based Brit who volunteered at the test event in transport logistics and will be involved again. Although he has ridden only once, he enjoys “all equestrian sport from the sidelines”.
“Sartilly, where the endurance is, is only 35min from my home, but I’ll go wherever necessary to help the event run well,” said Mr Head, who works in the building industry. “It’s useful that I speak English and French.”
Rosalind Wolfe, from Fulham, said it was the “Olympic legacy” of the volunteers in London that attracted her.
“I am not horsey, but I wish I had volunteered in London. Caen [where most events will be held] is lovely and I speak French,” said Ms Wolfe, who applied last April after hearing about WEG from Aussie eventer Shane Rose.
Mrs Wolfe and her sister Wendy Hutson — a French teaching assistant in Cornwall — travelled to Normandy for interview.
“Seeing the fantastic job the Games Makers did in London made me want to volunteer — and there are so many interesting positions available,” said Mrs Hutson, who is interested in “anything French”.
4000 people applied and 400 positions will go to non-French volunteers.
Although French is not essential, the application form was not translated to encourage people to “work out the process”. Applicants were then invited either for a face-to-face or phone interview where appropriate jobs were discussed. Training — which will be in July and August — will be in French. Some accommodation is available but not guaranteed.
➤ Applications are still open, but only for a secondary list should events need extra manpower. Visit: http://benevoles.normandie2014.com/
This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (27 March 2014)