Jamie Arrowsmith – 26th July 2022 – 2.30pm.
One of West Midlands Ambulance Service’s control room staff is getting set for her work to be seen by millions of people on Thursday night after helping to make the costumes for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.
Sophie Potter, a dispatcher who works in the Emergency Operations Centre, is used to sending ambulances to 999 calls all across the West Midlands, but after volunteering to help at the Commonwealth Games, her work is about to be seen across the world during both the opening and closing ceremonies.
Sophie took up sewing during the first Covid-19 lockdown when volunteering to make fabric face masks and it quickly became a way for her to unwind out of work, making clothes for herself and family members.
So when Sophie saw the advert for costume volunteers and the fact no previous experience was necessary, she decided to give it a go.
She said: “I was thrilled to be accepted and since February I have been attending two costume shifts per week on my days off and will be present backstage throughout both ceremonies to help dress all of the performers and make any last-minute adjustments.
“My confidence has grown so much throughout the project, particularly because I have been allowed to take on tasks independently which has been nice to have that level of trust shown in me.
“As well as learning how to use industrial sewing machines and overlockers to make hats, my proudest achievement in the workshop so far has been helping one of the mentors draft and sew a ‘master’ trench coat which several performers and stewards will wear and our master copy was sent off to a factory to be recreated en masse.”
Whilst Sophie is thrilled to have taken part in the project, she also said that it has not been without its challenges.
“The hardest part has been keeping everything a secret. Every day I go into the workshop I see incredible feats of artistry and craftmanship from professional sewists and I really cannot wait for the world to see what all of the volunteers have achieved when both ceremonies take place.
“This opportunity has been an amazing creative outlet for me and given me an enormous sense of achievement and pride. I will be sad when the project is over but will definitely look for other opportunities to keep sewing.”
Sophie’s work at the Commonwealth Games will not be limited to the opening and closing ceremonies as she has also volunteered to be an athlete driver throughout the event, which involves driving athlete between the athlete’s village and games venues.