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News > News from the Worthian Network > The key to the success of the Commonwealth Games

The key to the success of the Commonwealth Games

Lawrence Butler Perks B'07 tells us about his role keeping the Games on the move
Lawrence (second right) with some of the Transport Team
Lawrence (second right) with some of the Transport Team

Lawrence Butler Perks B'07 has spoken about how values he learned at Worth helped him play a key role in making the recent Commonwealth Games a huge success.

Lawrence was part of the support team in Birmingham, working as the Deputy Venue Transport Manager for the athletes’ village at the University of Birmingham’s halls of residence in Edgbaston, coordinating getting athletes from the 72 competing nations to their events on time.

Lawrence's own journey, upon leaving Worth, took him to the University of Aberdeen where he initially undertook an undergraduate degree in Celtic Civilisation & Scottish Gaelic language, then an MSc in Strategic Studies and finally a PhD on the Northern Ireland conflict.

He said: “When I had completed my PhD, I decided that academia wasn’t in fact for me so I had a look round for other jobs and landed a role at the Royal British Legion, and so began my career in events. Whilst working for the RBL’s Commemorative Events Team, I had the privilege to work on D-Day 75 in Bayeux, four festivals of remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and three Remembrance Sundays at the Cenotaph, among a host of other commemorations including the challenge of VE Day 75 during the first COVID lockdown.

“All good things come to an end and after five and a half years, I said goodbye to the RBL in April this year and went freelance. After working on the Royal Windsor Horse Show and Platinum Jubilee Celebration in May, a colleague there suggested that the Commonwealth Games still needed people.

“I worked with the Games’ bus and car fleet teams to make sure that athletes and dignitaries got to where they needed to go and in time for their competitions. Simple in theory, but life has a habit of throwing curveballs to keep things interesting.

“Whilst working on the Games – as in previous events – I found I was particularly grateful to Worth for three things which laid an excellent foundation for these situations. First for Fr Peter’s fencing lessons - for instilling a belief in my own capabilities and teaching me how to build my own resourcefulness. Secondly, for Mr Robinson and his Latin lessons - in which he taught us how to take a problem, like a sentence we couldn’t translate, and break it down into its constituent elements, which has continued to inform my problem-solving approach ever since. Finally, the School’s emphasis on the importance of community is something that I have carried with me ever since and was vital in delivering a successful Games.

“We all had to pull together as one big community of staff, volunteers and athletes to make the Games work. This point was driven home for me by a runner from Team Barbados who told me, ‘Without all of us working as a team together, I’m just a mad man running in a circle. The team gives the meaning.’ The team, the community, was what made the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham truly special to be a part of and that will stick with me forever.”

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