My first time volunteering was when Toby asked me to come along to a QPR game in London. The opposition on the day escapes me, as does the result, but we witnessed a QPR win and had some incredibly good fun at the same time.

We met at the Ladbroke Grove tube with three other volunteers and a group of twelve keen local “Hoops” fans with learning disabilities. After my initial nerves subsided, nothing more than having never done any volunteering like this before, I soon relaxed and started getting to know everyone. Football helped, it’s a common language, and I realised how happy everyone was to be going to the game, keen to get a cup of tea and to see a QPR victory!

Just like any other Saturday footie match, well almost. Firstly, I soon realised that John had an extraordinary memory for goals and football statistics, every time I mentioned a recent game John would tell me the score and scorers and I suspect he would remember the result of the game in question a lot more clearly than I have! We had a great conversation anyway and I couldn’t think of a better person to watch a game with. Secondly, the celebration! Wow what a reaction from everyone, hugs and kisses all round, it was absolutely brilliant! It really reminded me why I loved football, not the shouting and moaning and disappointments, but for the sheer joy of seeing a ball breaking the net!

So, my first time was truly memorable and very good fun, and my only regret is not finding more time to help out at The Yellow Submarine. I think that’s my new year resolution sorted.

at the game

[the gang at the game, I was behind the camera!]