A COLLEGE lecturer has spoken of his battle with storms in helping Russia prepare for the Winter Olympics.

Blackburn College lecturer Mike Jenner, 61, began helping the nation prepare for the spotlight two years ago.

Now he is enjoying the spectacle from the comfort of his armchair, but it was a very different story at the start.

It was Mike’s first trip abroad and he had to tackle temperatures of -25 degrees and power outages.

As a hospitality lecturer, who has worked in Blackburn for 20 years, he was in the Russian city of Krasnador near the Black Sea, an area about an hour from Sochi with few hotels or training in accommodating foreign guests and different cultures.

It was Mike’s job to prepare students on the National Diploma in Hospitality at Novorossiysk Social Peda-gogical College for their turn on the world stage.

The group of Russian students were 16-19 years old and later that year, they came to Blackburn as part of the exchange to put their hospitality into practice.

He said: “It is wonderful to see the Olympics such a success on the television. I am watching avidly.

“I arrived in January and it was certainly an experience. I had never been abroad and I was the first Englishman to teach there.

“There were massive snow storms and I think 18 inches of snow fell one night. They were used to it and had snow ploughs ready.

“College was closed down at one stage as it was so cold the electricity stopped working and obviously my lap top didn’t work.

“Now I’m enjoying seeing how well the Russians are doing staging the Olympics after the hard work.”