Islington optometrist helping Olympic stars to stay focussed
16:06 05 August 2012
One Islington woman will be keeping a closer eye on the Games than most.
Moorfields Eye Hospital optometrist Elaine Styles, 42, volunteered two years ago to provide medical services in the Olympic Village.
After making it through a set of interviews, Elaine, from Caledonian Road, is providing eye care to athletes during London 2012.
With morning shifts starting at 6.30am, the work will mean an early start, and some would think the experience would be a bit of a busman’s holiday for her.
However, the chance to be involved in the Games and to rub shoulders with top stars is payment enough.
She said: “This is something that will never happen here again in my lifetime, so getting involved in any way is fantastic.
“It’s just a great atmosphere inside the village. I was in the clinic when the village opened on July 16, so I saw all the athletes arriving.
“Lots of the teams had started to decorate outside the apartment blocks by putting up their flags. It was quite high-spirited.
“There was a lot of high jinks between the teams. I saw the Canadian moose mascot have its antlers stolen by another team.”
Not only will Elaine be right in the centre of the action during the Games, she was also picked as one of the 8,000 torchbearers who carried the Flame across the UK.
She was one of several runners who took it through Wandsworth on July 26.
“The whole experience, the whole day, was incredible. There were so many people out on the street, it was brilliant.
“Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley were with us in the back of the bus, doing their Absolutely Fabulous routine, which was hilarious.”
She was nominated to carry the Torch because of her work for the charity she founded, Vision Care for Homeless People.
“The majority of homeless people have access to a GP,” she said, “but the cost means that eye care is just not available through the mainstream health services.”
A keen cyclist, Elaine completed a John O’Groats to Land’s End ride to raise money for the charity.
She would love her hero, Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, to stop by for a check-up while she is on duty at the Olympic Village.
“I’ll be giving special treatment to Team GB, of course,” said Elaine.
She added: “I’ll be there at the end when everyone is showing off their medals.”