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Hampton Court Palace volunteer from Thames Ditton found love in '48
A woman has told the touching story of how she met her husband when she was a volunteer at the 1948 Olympics in London.
Winifred Bindley, 84, worked at Hampton Court Palace during the London 2012 cycling time trials, which started and finished at the historic landmark, and said the event brought back memories of when she was a young woman helping with the first Olympics after the Second World War.
She said the 1948 Olympics, dubbed the Austerity Games because it was organised as the country desperately tried to recover from war, could not have been more different from London 2012 and all the hype that surrounded it.
Ms Bindley, of Long Ditton, said there was no TV coverage and it was the first chance in many years to meet people from other countries.
Her late husband Ted Coulby performed in the opening ceremony.
She said: “I met some of the other people who were working there and one of them was a nice young man who had been singing in the choir for the opening ceremony and was also interested in athletics.
“We got on the train to go back to Morden on the tube - I didn’t realise he lived in Morden and I lived just beyond Morden - and eventually I married him, so that was very nice.”
Ms Bindley, who has volunteered at the palace for 12 years, said she got little chance to see the sporting events in 1948 because she was busy with her duties checking tickets, but she specifically remembered Czech runner Emil Zátopek, who won gold in the 10,000m.
She said: “He was always about 10 minutes in advance of everybody else in the race.”
The volunteer also remembered the special atmosphere of an Olympics in London and how it brought the country together after seven years at war.
She said: “It was a big outing for everybody. We hadn’t had many outings, we’d just had six or seven years of war, so people were looking forward to having something different to think about.
“But I don’t remember the stadium being totally full at any point during the games. It was a rather down-key event I think and it was because it was so soon after the end of the war.
“People were still recovering. Families were still getting together again which they hadn’t been, children had been evacuated and people had been in the forces and so on and some of them finding it quite difficult.
“I can remember saying to my father ‘I don’t know how they are going to get this all organised in time’ and he said: ‘In this country we can organise anything’. So they did.”
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