December 9 2013 Latest news:
Friday, January 4, 2013
A former Sprowston High School pupil has been made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for his work co-ordinating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Rob Young now lives in Greater Manchester, but grew up in Sprowston and his parents, Christine and David Young, still live there.
The 34-year-old was the London 2012 co-ordinator for the north-west of England in the lead up to and during the Olympics, starting the role in 2006.
Mr Young was responsible for the region’s plans to help maximise the benefits from London 2012 but has been left shocked after learning he was to be honoured.
He said: “It still all feels very surreal. I got the letter when I got back from holiday at the end of November and was just completely shocked; I thought it must have been a joke at first.
“You are not supposed to tell anyone until the time they are announced, but I was back at my parents’ house so I told them and my sister the night before they were announced.
“So I was home when I told them and we stayed up and had a glass of champagne when the list was published and I could actually see the letters next to my names, which was really nice.”
Mr Young studied sport science at Loughborough University and had wanted to get involved with London 2012 in some way, so decided to apply for the co-ordinator role.
He continued: “I started in 2006 and it was my job to make sure the Olympics were not just for London but for the benefits to spread far and wide; in my job it was for the north west.
“I was involved with the football (at Old Trafford) during the Games and got to go down to London for a few days, which was nice because I had put a lot of work in and to see all the people enjoying it without going myself would have been frustrating.
“But getting to be closely involved with things like the torch relay and some of the stuff like that, I was very fortunate to be involved.”
Mr Young’s role has since been made redundant, so he is now finding his feet as a freelance in the sport and leisure industry.
He added: “Through all the government cuts, my job nearly didn’t make it through to the Games, but fortunately it did. Now I’ll just have to see what the future holds.
“But all this has been incredibly humbling.
“The response I’ve had from my friends and family, I don’t want to sound twee, but you just don’t expect ordinary people to get this kind of recognition.”
- Do you know someone from Norwich who has achieved something special? Call reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418.