Richard Mann tells us about his new and exciting lockdown boccia volunteer role...

The pandemic comes along and everyone's life changes.

For me it was about to change for the better - on 29th April an email appears in my inbox titled "An idea". It's from Boccia England and I'm intrigued.

Two days later and I'm sat on the bench at the end of my garden, PC on my lap, reading a test introductory script for the Rainbow Cup being filmed by my daughter, Natalie, on her mobile phone. Natalie is a PE teacher and at home as the schools are shut.


Why the garden? The inspiration came from videos that the Grateful Dead's archivist, David Limeaux, films on his camera for the CD releases of Grateful Dead concerts using the US Pacific north west coast as his "set".

Limeaux's filming gave me the next idea as between the 1st and 2nd Rainbow Cups an investment was made in a tripod so that my daughter didn't have to hold her phone stock still for two minutes at a time.

September comes and the schools and Natalie return, which means a re-think about shooting schedules but a plan is drawn up to work around the fact that there is a delay in filming and the videos are still relevant.

There is a team feel to the filming and sharing of the videos and a "virtual water cooler" Monday morning email conversation with Boccia England Competition Manager, Sarah Wooding, and Workforce Manager ("remote location liaison"), Natalie Braisby.

The writing of the weekly scripts and the finding of a window for shooting the videos are very much a part of my weekly routine - still loving it but hoping that the return to in person competition arrives soon.

Natalie told us:

It has been a pleasure being a very small part of The Rainbow Cup. I have enjoyed doing the filming each week. It feels like I am doing something positive during lockdowns and making those that play boccia still feel like they are part of a competition. I know for some players in particular who may have been shielding this has probably been a lifeline.

Even though I have physically returned to work, we have still managed to film each week. I wasn't sure if it was going to be possible but we have managed to do this and I am still enjoying it!