Norfolk volunteers enjoy the Ryder Cup experience

A Norfolk couple played their part in the fabulous European triumph at the Ryder Cup – as volunteer marshals during the event at Celtic Manor in Wales.

And that was despite the weather: 'Mud, mud, glorious mud is the best description of Friday and Sunday after the continuous rain,' said Caroline.

'Otherwise, when the sun came out it was a glorious sight over the whole course with stunning views – in fact there was a double rainbow and a beautiful sunset one evening.'

The days were long: they started at 5am, drove to the park and ride, went through security, then bussed to the course and finally walked 2� miles to the tented village. It took about two hours each way and they returned to their digs (with friends) at about 9.30pm.

In between, Ivor was detailed to spectator assistance with a special responsibility to drive disabled people to and from any point on the course. Caroline was based in the lost property/information/programmes tent.


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Ivor's ferrying trips involved people from all over the world, including Colin Montgomerie's father and Katharine Jenkins' dad. On the Saturday, he gave Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan a lift back to the 2010 clubhouse after they had defeated the Molinari brothers on the 17th. One day he picked up a Barnham Broom member, who had hurt his back playing rugby, and a farmer from Pembrokeshire whose daughter had treated him to the day out for his 70th birthday.

Prince Charles, Celtic Manor owner Sir Terry Matthews and European Tour chief executive George O'Grady, passed by on their tour of the tented village (and delayed Ivor from getting a drink at the Ryder Cup Bar during his break).

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Both Ivor and Caroline shook hands with Costantino Rocca near the crossover at the 12th hole and said 'Hello' to Di Stewart from Sky.

Caroline's job brought her into contact with people from almost every country in Europe and lots from USA and the Antipodes. The best thing, she said, was reuniting people with wallets and car keys that they had lost, with thanks to the honest folk who had handed them in.

The tent was situated opposite the practice putting green – the players then crossed from there over the bridge to the 1st tee.

'Famous people who popped by to talk to us included Ross Fisher's mum and dad, who were extremely proud, quite rightly, of their son. Denis Pugh, coach to the Molinari brothers, stopped and signed a couple of hats,' said Caroline.

Also volunteering as marshals on their stand was a former jockey and one of the first five professional tennis referees.

On one rare break Caroline set out to find an American volunteer. She was unsuccessful, but found herself walking the fairway with Clare Balding, who was commentating for Radio Five Live on the match between Ross Fisher and Padraig Harrington against Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.

Caroline added: 'On Sunday evening, while waiting for Ivor to finish, I wandered up to the 2010 clubhouse and talked to Thomas Levet, who was working for French TV and interviewing Lee Westwood, and yes, he does have beautiful blue eyes!

'During the week, between us, we also talked to Thomas Bjorn, Wayne Riley and Richard Boxall.

'The excitement as the matches neared the finish at the big screen in the tented village was something never to forget. Everyone was shouting at the screen and the moment we won the Ryder Cup back from the USA was so emotional for everyone there.'

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