Golden memories: Lord Coe thanks county army of Olympic volunteers
Their cheerful greetings, helpful advice and hard work were a big part in making the Olympics the success it was.
Yesterday, Lord Sebastian Coe visited Leicestershire to say a personal thank-you to the county's army of Olympic volunteer Games Makers.
He also spoke to torch-bearers and students working to make sure the Olympic Legacy endures.
While he was at the event, at Loughborough College, he was also presented with a montage of Leicester Mercury articles about the Olympics, handed over by the city's deputy mayor, Rory Palmer.
Thanking him for the gift, Lord Coe, chairman of the Olympics and Paralympics organising committees, said: "There are now waiting lists at sports clubs because young people have been inspired by heroes such as Tom Daley.
"We need to find more opportunities for them so that we can build on the excitement that's been generated."
He chatted to Games makers and thanked them for their work.
Among them was 21-year-old Loughborough University graduate Natasha Devonshire, who volunteered at the Olympics and Paralympics.
"It was surreal meeting Sebastian Coe. He's a really personable and friendly person. I was so excited," she said.
Fellow Loughborough graduate Samantha Horn, also 21, said: "I got to meet him when I was working. He came to speak to some of the Games Makers which was a privilege then, never mind now."
Torch bearers were also thanked at the event. John Ball, 69, from Kirby Muxloe, has been involved with football coaching for the blind for most of his life, and ran the last leg of the Paralympic torch relay in London.
He said: "I think Lord Coe did a fantastic job bringing it all together.
Student Dan Headley, 18, from Loughborough, was presented with an award by Lord Coe for young leader of the year for his involvement in Loughborough college's Flames project.
The project trains students to deliver PE lessons to primary schools focusing on the Olympic values and has now been rolled out across the country. Dan was also an official Boccia referee at the Paralympic games – a sport similar to bowls for those with disabilities.
He said: "I feel really honoured to receive an award from him because he's an Olympian. I really believe sport can inspire people and that's why I got so involved in the Flames project."
Pupils from Woodbrook Vale School, in Loughborough, who formed a guard of honour for the athletes at the opening ceremony, also met Lord Coe yesterday.
Pupil Anna Kitching, 13, said: "It was amazing to be part of the opening ceremony. We got to see people such as Usain Bolt, although Jessica Ennis was my hero, and now it's been amazing to meet Sebastian Coe. The Games has definitely made me want to take part in more team sports."