Birthday deadline ends Dagenham student’s Olympic dream

A pupil is unable to volunteer at the London Oympics because her 16th birthday falls after the competition starts.

Dagenham pupil Georgie Brophy was left “gutted” after finding out she had to be 16 by July 1 to take on the role at Wimbledon, which will stage the tennis events for the summer’s Games.

The tennis fan reached the final stage to represent her school, Eastbrook Comprehensive in Dagenham Road, then was told she could not volunteer as she turns 16 on August 29.

The aspiring PE teacher said: “I think it’s unfair. I feel gutted. I was looking forward to it.

“It was going to be a great opportunity.”

Georgie’s mum Angela, of Clementhorpe Road, Dagenham, said: “She’s one of the youngest in her class.

“The school got through each time and then Georgie finds out that she’s too young. It’s such a shame.”

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Her school said it only became aware of the July 1 “cut off point” when Olympic organisers sent official forms this month.

But LOCOG, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said its public statements had always mentioned the rule.

Eastbrook headteacher Valerie Dennis said: “Our understanding was that volunteers had to be in Year 11.

“Unfortunately, Georgie was born in August – she is very young in her group.

“I totally understand if they’ve got a cut off point in terms of safeguarding the children. It’s really unfortunate but it is no lesser credit to Georgie for getting through and being selected.

“We will do whatever we can to support her. I am so proud of all of them for getting through.”

A LOCOG spokesman said: “We have always been clear in our communications about the cut off point.

“Unfortunately there is no flexibility.”

Eastbrook Comprehensive applied to have volunteers at Wimbledon last autumn and has now been selected to give the pupils training sessions each month. The best teams are set to be picked in April.