The Law Faculty's Director of Development, Maureen O'Neill, was selected as an Olympic Torchbearer in recognition of her tremendous contributions in volunteering. She carried the Olympic Torch along Cowley Road, Oxford on the 9th of July 2012, helping the torch on its journey to the evening Olympic celebration at South Park.
Describing the experience, Maureen says:
"It is clear that I am no Olympian but carrying the torch made me feel like one.
The day was remarkable in every way as I shared the honour with those in the Oxford community and beyond who make their mark in significant ways. These everyday people all saw a need in their community and rose to the challenge, giving their time, talent, energy and good will.
There was a teenager who volunteered for meals on wheels, a scout leader, a foster father of 350 children, a community sports organiser, and others, each with a determination to make a contribution in their own way. I was humbled by their stories. For my part, my husband nominated me for a variety of volunteer jobs I take on.
So on the 9th of July, we all stood in a stretch of the Oxford path, dressed in white track suits and holding an Olympic torch. Hundreds of people lined the streets cheering us on, waving banners and flags, beating drums and calling out. One by one, we met, passed on the Olympic flame with “a kiss” and moved on in a tradition that has become legendary.
In this small but brilliant way, we were able to share with our family, our friends, and our community a moment to shine."
Maureen's nomination story:
Maureen O'Neill lives to volunteer. She works as a fundraiser, but also has three volunteer jobs; as a school governor, parish councillor, and adviser to a local theatre group. This year she has also been fundraising to send a scout contingent to the World Scout Jamboree. She is continually giving ad-hoc advice on fundraising to anyone who asks. She also celebrates every person's birthday or achievement, making people feel good about themselves. She never seeks the spotlight for herself.