Seb Coe: Take part in the world's greatest celebration of sport

From a speech given by the vice chairman of the London 2012 Olympic bid to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations annual conference
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The Independent Online

Volunteerism in sport is a small but highly important part of our volunteering culture - one of the most distinguishing and determining features of this country and its people.

Volunteerism in sport is a small but highly important part of our volunteering culture - one of the most distinguishing and determining features of this country and its people.

Sport, like so many other human activities, would simply not be sustainable but for those of us prepared to take young swimmers to the pool at 5.30 in the morning, cut sandwiches in club rooms, rake sandpits in athletic stadiums or drive a minibus on Sunday mornings.

Grassroots sport - where it all begins - is dependent on volunteers. There are over 5 million sports volunteers in England, who contribute 1.2 billion hours each year to sport. Volunteers are the unsung heroes of UK society. They help to keep our communities functioning - and come to the fore in times of national need.

We expect the London 2012 Olympic Games will involve in excess of 70,000 volunteers, the most ever assembled for a peace-time event in the UK. It's a high figure, but it is definitely achievable. No city or country is better placed to win an Olympic Gold Medal for Volunteering than we are.

If our bid is successful, the London 2012 volunteers will be at the centre of what we believe will be the greatest festival of sport and culture ever staged - one of the great celebrations of humanity. And the Olympic volunteers will help to embody the values of the Olympic Movement - determination, courage, sacrifice and pride in participation.

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