More than 240,000 people volunteer for 2012 Olympics

More than 240,000 people have signed up as volunteers for the 2012 Games, organisers have said.

London 2012 will sort through the applications to create a shortlist for the 70,000 roles ahead of interviews which are due to start in February.

Volunteer roles range from checking tickets to welcoming athletes.

Organising committee chairman Lord Coe said they were thrilled with the response but they were at the start of a very long process.

"Now we begin the task of finding the right people and ensuring that we match them to the most appropriate roles," he said.

"This is a long process and will take time but we're asking people to be patient, this once in a lifetime opportunity is really worth it."

Applications closed at midnight on Wednesday and London 2012 said 40% of applicants were first-time volunteers.

There are two types of volunteers required at the Games.

Specialists will be experts in areas such as medical services, sport or press operations, while the work of general volunteers will include being spectator assistants, uniform distributors and ticket checkers.

The London mayor is also aiming to recruit up to 8,000 London Ambassadors to give information and help to visitors travelling to the city during the Games.

They will be based at key points across the city including transport hubs, tourist hotspots and outside Games venues.

The registration period for this volunteering programme closes on 31 December 2010.

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