Walking into a room filled with people from the sports world - and not knowing anyone!
I was privileged to have been nominated by my MP, Theresa Villers, as a Community Sports Champion.
It all began when I received an email from 10 Downing Street inviting me, as a nominated Community Sport Champion, to attend a reception hosted by Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at 10 Downing Street. I emailed back asking if this was a hoax and being assured it wasn’t! I replied, saying I would be delighted to attend.
Anyone who knows me knows I like to be early, and I was first in the queue. Passing through security, I saw a deserted Downing Street, and the big black door was shining as only it could. I was told to knock, and so I did. As I removed my hand from the door, it opened, and I was engulfed in a reception room that seemed too big for the front door.
We were instructed to turn our mobiles off and leave all devices by the front door. Would we be asked to drop them in a box or a glass bowl? Would they be put it in an envelope with a raffle ticket to claim it back? It was beautifully simple; we were directed towards what might have been a repurposed postal sorting box, and being first, I deposited my phone into a pigeon hole, box number 1.
Then, walking as slowly as I could up a flight of stairs, I studied the portraits of each of the Prime Ministers, almost expecting one of them to disappear, as in Harry Potter, and pop up elsewhere. The uniformity of the frames against the pale yellow wallpaper took my breath away, and at the top of the stairs was a Lowry, which took up almost the whole landing wall. I only wished I had more time to stand and stare, but the quick glimpse was magic to the eyes!
I entered three empty adjoining rooms that looked out over Horse Guards Parade with a private view of a public tourist attraction. Very slowly, the room filled with volunteers nominated by their MPs for contributions to sport in their communities. Staff negotiated the room and clusters of people with canapes and wine.
Not knowing anyone, I mingled and made conversation. We were the people who delivered at the grassroots level, the local clubs, small charities, and volunteers. Everyone had their own story, nominated by their MP as a way of saying thank you for growing and supporting their community.
We were finally ushered in one long, slow queue to have our photograph taken with Lucy Frazer, who, like all the MPs, had been held up in a parliamentary vote.
As a movement and dance representative and former Chair of the Movement and Dance Division, I have attended many events, but this was the first time I have attended something as a personal thank you from my MP for my contribution to the sector. It was magical, and as I said to a member of staff…’In case I forget to tell you later, I had a really good time tonight’ (Pretty Woman).
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EXTEND Exercise and Medau Movement teacher. Keeping the muscles working, the joints mobile and having fun!