Volunteers from Panathlon’s supporters St. James’s Place had an “incredibly rewarding” day officiating and guiding pupils at our Birmingham Primary Final on Wednesday 17 April.

The merry band of 14 employees guided the young Panathletes and officiated the competition – many of them eagerly taking the opportunity to return having volunteered at the same event at the University of Birmingham Sports Centre in 2022 and 2023.

There were nine schools in the competition battling it out for the title of ‘Birmingham primary champions’ – and the top two went through to our Central England Regional Final in June back at the same venue.

The winners were The Rosary Roman Catholic Primary, who were delighted to go one better than their runner-up finish in previous years, with silver medal winners Tiverton Primary grabbing the other regional qualifying place.

Laura John, a Trainee Para Planner at St. James’s Place, said: “It’s so lovely to see them being competitive but also working as a team. They deserve this opportunity. They’ve all got their own personal challenges and they deserve having something especially for them. It is so lovely to see their faces.”

Angie Cox, who works in client liaison, stressed the value of volunteering at Panathlon events. “It’s my first time doing it and I’d recommend it to anybody,” she said. “I’m not used to working with children so to see the excitement on their faces and know you’re helping them to enjoy themselves is wonderful.”

Jo Hayes, Academy Support Manager, relished seeing the children’s “competitive spirit” up close as she helped them on the carousel of multi-skills activities.

“They work as a team not individuals and it’s really great to see the smiles on their faces. At the end of the day everybody comes away with a medal and a certificate, so they’re all winners.

“We [as staff] enjoy playing the games as well. It does make an impact on us. I’ll go back to the office and spread the word to the others in the office who might not know about it.”

Peter Norris, Academy Training Manager, added: “It’s fabulous to see their enthusiasm to have a go at everything and help each other. They all cheer when someone gets some points. The pleasure I see them getting from it is priceless.

“I know there’s a regional final in June and I’m looking forward to it already. And you don’t need to go to the gym at the end of a day doing this, because you’re running around the whole time!”

Read more about our support from St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation here.