Last Monday, 8th August, saw the closing ceremony signal the end of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. 
The Games was the largest ever held, with 72 participating nations and over 1.3 million ticket sales. And it was the first to have more events for women than men and the first integrated event, with the para competition held at the same time . 
5,054 athletes participated in 280 events, and 14,00 volunteers, known as the Commonwealth Collective, were a familiar site at and around the 15 venues spread across the West Midlands region. Seven of the venues were located in the city of Birmingham, and it'seeze Web Design Horsham owner John Wright was one of the volunteers based at the Smithfield site. 
Smithfield, in the heart of Birmingham City Centre was the home of the Beach Volleyball, 3X3 Basketball, and 3X3 Wheelchair Basketball. It also included the Smithfield Festival Site, which saw an array of bands and events take to the stage over 10 days of competition and celebration. 
John's did eight volunteer shifts over nine days, and said he thoroughly enjoyed his nine days in Brum. 
''Everyday was different'' John told us. ''Although I was on the same site every day, I would be in different areas, and working with different teams. But wherever we were, the priority was to help keep visitors safe, and to make sure they enjoyed a wonderful day at Smithfield. As well as helping them to get through queues quickly and direct them to their event, it also involved a lot of high fiving, and directing people to the toilets!.''  
Birmingham is a city that doesn't always enjoy the greatest of reputations, so nine days in Brum wouldn't be everyone's idea of fun! ''Birmingham is a fantastic city'' John replied. ''It gets a lot of bad press, but I loved every minute there. The atmosphere at Smithfield was amazing, and the buzz around the city was excellent too. I met so many lovely, friendly people, and even the weather played its part with long, hot sunny days.'' 
John clearly enjoyed his role of volunteer and his time in Brum. So what was the highlight? ''That's easy'' he replied. ''meeting the star of the show - Perry'' (Perry the Bull, Birmingham 2022's official mascot.)  
And on that note, there is only one way to close this article. With a farewell from Perry! 
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