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7 August 2009 | PR 09/103

Loughborough sports chaplain selected for World Athletics Champs

Revd. Mary Vickers

Revd. Mary Vickers, Loughborough University sports chaplain

Loughborough University sports chaplain Revd. Mary Vickers has been selected as part of an elite group of international clerics to provide pastoral and spiritual support to athletes at this month’s IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

Revd. Vickers is one of three UK chaplains bound for Germany next week to join with 16 colleagues from around the world. She will have responsibility for athletes from English-speaking nations in the specially designed ‘Oases of Silence’ (one in each official athlete hotel) which are open to all Championship competitors, support staff and volunteers.

The team of 19 chaplains will provide worship and meditation opportunities for people of all faiths and none, with a number of sessions being held at the Berlin Olympic Stadium’s own chapel which opened as part of the facility in 1936. A special service is being held in the Berlin Cathedral on the evening prior to the start of the Championships. 

Revd. Vickers, who has previously worked as a chaplain at the Athens Olympics, is delighted to have been selected for Berlin and is looking forward to being part of a major international event.  

“People come to us for all sorts of reasons, to celebrate and give thanks as well as when they don’t do as well as they hoped,” she said. “Winning and losing brings out all sorts of important questions for athletes about things such as personal identity and their future in the sport.

“As a chaplain I’m there with a religious motivation but our services are available to everyone, whether they have a faith or not.”

Revd Vickers is a part time assistant priest at St Michael’s Church in Andover and has been a sports chaplain at Loughborough University since June last year.

She will join 17 Loughborough athletes at the IAAF World Championships, representing the Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canadian and Irish teams. 

The IAAF World Championships take place in Berlin from 15 - 23 August.

Follow Mary's blog online at http://sportschaplain.blogspot.com/

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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