“One of the top 6 things I’ve done in my life!”

On International Volunteer Day, 2019, we spoke to Australian Jackie Clarke who volunteered during the recent Invictus Games Sydney 2018. Volunteering at the age of 75, Jackie told us she rates her experience at the Games as one of the top 6 things she has done in her life!

Why did you decide to volunteer?

“I was a member of the Guiding movement for many years where I learned of the importance of doing service, including volunteering. I would have loved to have volunteered at the 2000 Olympic Games when they were in Sydney but my husband wasn’t well enough for me to apply. So when the Invictus Games came to Sydney I couldn’t miss out, so I decided to apply. I wasn’t very hopeful at the time that I would be accepted because of my age (I was 74 when I applied!), maybe being a War Widow helped, I have no idea.”

What drives you to support the Invictus Games?

“I worked as a radiographer at the DVD outpatient clinic in the Grace Building (now the Grace Hotel) in Sydney until my marriage. I married the radiographer in charge (who was my boss) so had to leave the department. My husband went on to serve in WW2 as a LAC in the RAAF. I am now a War Widow, so this connection to ex-service personnel and my work as a radiographer encouraged me to support the Invictus Games.”

What was your experience like doing the Games themselves?

“I can honestly say that I loved every day that I worked, I had a shift every day from the day before they opened until the last day, with a day off in the middle. My earliest shift started at 6am and the latest finished at 11pm (the Closing Ceremony). I was based in the Dome in the Invictus Games House where the competitors and their families met for meals, or used a lounge area for them to relax. In the Dome, my group managed the check-in area where competitors could safely leave backpacks and small equipment, it was here that they brought their laundry to be sent away for washing (1 service per competitor). We also wandered around the lounge area making sure that it was tidy. It was a wonderful experience to have the opportunity to speak with the international competitors and their friends and family members and exchange Australian souvenirs for pins etc., I treasure my collection still today.”

What would you say to anyone thinking of doing something similar?

“I encourage you to get involved in any activities to support military wounded, injured or sick Servicemen and women! I was 75 years old at the time the Games were in Sydney, you’re never too old to get involved, and I class my experience in the top 6 things I have done in my life!”

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