On Thursday 29th November 2007 , 18 volunteers were recognised for their work in sports volunteering at the Army and Navy Club for the 45th anniversary.
Presented by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, each winner received their award for outstanding contributions after being nominated by their National Governing Body.
Details of recipients can be found below.
Richard Bonehill – British Fencing
Richard joined Truro Fencing Club in 1987 when the membership had fallen to 4 regular fencers. The current membership stands at well over 100. During the last 20 years, initially as Club Member, then Assistant Coach and finally Senior Coach, Richard has been the inspiration which has enabled the Club to become one of the most highly respected and successful Fencing Clubs in the UK.
Through Richard’s unflinching dedication, the Club has produced a string of successful international fencers – in fact 12 Club Members represented their country at international level in 2006.
His latest project is to launch Truro Fencing Club Gold, to create a purpose built fencing centre to enable the young people in Cornwall to realise their own personal goals.
Janet Cartwright – Girlguiding UK
After qualifying as a Kayak and Canoe Instructor, Janet has run numerous courses for all ages, as well as coaching adults to become Coaches. This takes up most of Janet’s evenings and weekends.
As a volunteer in water sports Janet has played and continues to play a very important role, providing girls and young women with the opportunity to participate in these water based sports. Janet’s nominating body describe her as a “true unsung hero”.
Jenifer Davidson – Lacrosse Scotland
As Honorary Secretary of Lacrosse Scotland Jenifer has organised and attended hundreds of meetings, whilst ensuring excellent communications with her colleagues, both nationally and internationally. In addition, Jenifer has organised home international matches in Edinburgh for many years, as well as organising and attending numerous International Conferences on behalf of her Association.
Perhaps her work as a volunteer is best summed up by the fact that, not only has Jenifer kept the shirts of all the International Squads at her home, but she has also insisted on washing them all herself!
Basil Dawkins – British Judo Association
Basil set up Moberly Judo Club in Kilburn in 1997. It is now considered to be one of the best Junior Clubs in Great Britain, with many of the children Basil coaches coming from what could be described as “difficult” backgrounds. Many of these youngsters cannot afford the fees and in these situations Basil has no hesitation in putting his hand in his own pocket to ensure the Children continue with the classes.
Moberly Judo Club embraces children across the entire spectrum of society, boys and girls, young men and women, from deprived as well as affluent backgrounds and Basil ensures the Club facilitates and encourages all to come together. Players Basil has coached have achieved considerable national and international success, including the European Cadet Silver Medallist, Sinead Rotherwell in the 2006 Junior World Championships. Each year The Premier League identifies one Recipient to receive an Award sponsored by The League. This year they have selected Basil as an outstanding individual who gives so much time on a voluntary basis to provide the opportunity for young people in an inner city area to participate in their chosen sport.
Desi Dillingham – British Equestrian Federation
For the last 10 years Desi has been Chair of British Dressage, taking the newly formed organisation from its birth to one with an individual membership base of more than 12,000 and ensuring it had a sold financial base. Her sport now stands on equal terms with the two other Olympic disciplines of Eventing and Show Jumping.
Desi has overseen the complete integration of the Para-equestrian sport into British Dressage, as evidenced by outstanding results in Sydney and Athens – In Athens our riders came away with 8 of the 9 available medals, including 5 gold. The British Equestrian Federation describes Desi as larger than life, a natural leader, who makes things happen whilst not forgetting those less able than others.
Ken Gibbs – Scottish Squash
We now turn to Squash in Scotland and it is our opportunity to Ken is recognised for his work for over 50 years voluntary work for Squash. Ken has been a volunteer Coach to juniors, firstly at Bellahouston Squash Club and then Newlands Squash Club for all those years.
Although Ken was unable to compete at a higher level himself due to injury, he never lost his enthusiasm for the sport. However, apart from coaching, he also undertook refereeing and marking duties and has provided these services across the world as a Grade 1 Referee. Half a century after he first became involved in Squash on a voluntary basis, Ken continues to serve the sport with as much interest and enthusiasm as he did all those years ago.
Ronnie Hart – Clubs for Young People
For many years Ronnie held a full time position within the Merseyside Youth Association, as a Sports Development Officer. However, for more than 40 years Ronnie has also given most of his spare time voluntarily, particularly in his local community of Speke, assisting others at all levels to provide opportunities for the young and the community at large.
Highlights of Ronnie’s early volunteering career saw the development of Football Leagues, as well as Runs and races for all ages and abilities. He created the Aintree Fun Run – not over fences we assume Ronnie! – and the Liverpool half marathon, as well as small community programmes through schools and youth clubs. Community sports days, swimming galas and festivals are Ronnie’s forté.
Douglas Hird – Rugby Football League
Douglas first became involved as a volunteer in Rugby League 60 years ago when he was a founder member and Secretary of Shaw Cross Boys Club. He is still Secretary of the Club to this day! In addition, Douglas is actively involved with local Rugby Leagues and was joint Manager of the first Youth Tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1977.
Shaw Cross has teams from Under 8’s to Under 18, plus two Open Age sides and Douglas still looks after the Youth and Open Age Sections of the Club.
Some 60 years after he began as a volunteer Douglas is as committed as ever and Shaw Cross and Rugby League have much to thank him for.
Peter Hughes – Rugby Football Union
Peter has worked for the game as a volunteer for more years than perhaps he would care to remember. His involvement has encompassed local, national and international levels, serving his Club, County and Country as a volunteer administrator and official.
In particular, Peter has been instrumental in developing programmes for young players through the Rugby Schools Union, ensuring that the care and safety of players of all ages and aptitudes was at the forefront of the programmes.
Peter also saw the need for the Union to expand its horizons and embrace the changing world of rugby – in this connection he recruited a female representative to his Committee – ground breaking indeed!
Mandy Hunt – Amateur Swimming Association
Mandy began her work as a volunteer teaching swimming at her local swimming club and over a 5 year period was responsible for teaching more than 1,000 children and adults to swim. Maintaining her interest, Mandy progressed to the role of an official and took her time-keepers, judges, starters and referees exams, acting as an official at local galas, county events and national competitions.
In addition, Mandy has sat on numerous Committees at local and national level, as well as officiating at many international events in the UK.
Some 36 years after first becoming a volunteer Mandy continues to help in whatever way she can and continues to show endless enthusiasm for the sport.
Dick Laslett – England Hockey
Some 50 years ago Dick was a founder member of Polo Farm Sports Club, which includes hockey, tennis and cricket sections. Dick’s sport is hockey and the hockey section is Canterbury Hockey Club. Dick first played for the Club in 1957, was elected to their Committee in 1958 and has been a member ever since, undertaking numerous roles within the Club during that time.
In addition, Dick was instrumental in identifying the site on which Polo Farm Sports Club now stands and has been its Chairman since 1993. It now boasts some of the best facilities in the country and often hosts major national and international events.
The Laslett family is renowned in the hockey world for having an extended family large enough to field its own hockey team and has produced many outstanding players. Dick is almost unique in volunteering terms – that rare selfless individual who has spent his life serving others in a cause he is passionate about.
Clive Lee – British Gymnastics
The Saltburn Gymnastic Club was opened in 1973 by Clive and today, nearly 35 years later, he remains the Senior Coach, coaching gymnasts of all ages four times a week.
Clive’s enthusiasm for gymnastics began when he was in the armed forces and when his children said they wanted to try the sport he took courses to enable him to start his own Club. Clive’s children are still involved in the Club, as are his grandchildren.
The Club is based at the local Leisure Centre and four evenings a week will find Clive and his Coaches lifting, carrying and setting out equipment, including a full floor area, vaulting platform, bars and beams.
After more than 30 years Clive coaches as actively and wholeheartedly today as he did in 1973, all of it in a totally voluntary capacity. His reward is the pleasure he gains from seeing young people develop their skills and confidence through the challenges that gymnastics provides. He wants them all to experience that wonderful sense of achievement that comes with ‘doing your best’ and ‘taking part’.
Vibert Murdock – Sports Leaders UK
Vibert has been part of Springfield Young Peoples Club in Hackney, man and boy. The Club is situated in a particularly disadvantaged area of London, where unemployment is high and young people are increasingly at risk from high levels of crime and violence.
Vibert attended the Club as a youth and then became a volunteer. He moved on to become a Junior Leader and then Senior Leader and now is not only a volunteer but also Vice-Chair of the Board and a Member of the Management Committee.
For many years Vibert has worked at the heart of his community as a Teacher while carrying out voluntary work. In an uncertain world for many youngsters for the last 25 years Vibert has been a rock upon which they can depend at the Club at all times. His tireless work and good humour has been a major influence and motivation for the many young people who have come into contact with him.
Bob Patterson – England and Wales Cricket Board
When a small cricket club in Kent, Leeds & Broomfield, began to decline, Bob responded by developing the Youth Section and started the juniors at Harrietsham in 1999. The juniors soon outgrew Harrietsham and the Club transferred to Leeds & Broomfield in 2004, achieving ClubMark and became a Focus Club.
Bob is a brilliant administrator, understands child welfare and loves to see children playing cricket. As well as the background work Bob undertakes, he and his extended family can be found at the Club every Sunday morning collecting money, organising the registration forms, preparing refreshments, etc. Being the Club Treasurer and Web-Site Manager, Bob is as busy in the winter months.
Bob has also been a considerable support to the ECB ‘Chance to Shine’ project, giving his services voluntarily to a number of cricket clubs who are involved in the scheme.
Ken Richbell – The Football Association
Ken has been an active member of Buckhurst Hill Junior FC since 1995, initially as a parent watching his son train and play at the Club. However, before too long Ken became the Assistant Manager, then Chairman of the Club at which time he was determined to make the Club one of the best in Essex.
Shortly after his election as Chairman the Club faced closure. Ken immediately embarked on a solution, raising £500,000 in order to rebuild and restructure the Club. Thanks to Ken the Club is now thriving, has been awarded the FA Charter Standard and a gold accreditation from The Essex Sports Clubs. The Club now has a membership in excess of 230 from ages 6 to 18, plus 2 senior teams. Ken is a Level 2 Coach and Manager of the Under 10s. In his spare time, Ken is also Groundsman and Referees other local matches, as well as sitting on various management and fundraising committees and being the Club’s Child Welfare Officer.
Ken Robertson – British Cycling
Ken’s earliest cycling experience was as a three year old on a tricycle but I am pleased to say he has made considerable progress in the intervening years. Ken spent most of the Second World War years in Devon and found himself in hot water once when he decided to ride from his Plymouth Boarding School to Totnes and Newton Abbot and back but not returning before 9 p.m.
Ken joined Torbay Cycling Club in 1950 and continued his love of long distance cycling, often cycling from Compton Bassett to Devon and back at the weekends. Ken has competed every year since 1950 and achieved 2 hours 20 minutes in his most recent 50 mile time trial.
In addition to his participation in the sport Ken has undertaken numerous administrative roles – too numerous for me to mention this evening but you will find more details in the booklet. Suffice it to say that he has made a tremendous contribution to cycling in the South West and is a worthy Recipient of an Award.
James Rossiter – British Canoe Union
James has been a tireless volunteer in canoeing for more than 35 years. He took over the role of GB Marathon Team Manager in 1972 and created a structure and organisation which enabled the Marathon Teams go from strength to strength, to the extent that the GB Team became top of the International Marathon scene.
Apart from being an active member of the Regional Committee, James has been an active competitor, club member and, recently, was the driving force for the new clubhouse.
The British Canoe Union state that ‘the effects of James’s activities in canoeing over the years will be felt for a long time to come’.
Donald Swanson – Scottish Rugby Union
Donald first became involved with Peebles Rugby Football Club as a player in 1947 – half a century ago! He became Secretary in 1948 and continued as a player and administrator until the early 1960’s. When his playing days finished he occasionally refereed but also became heavily involved in fundraising for the Club’s Pavilion.
Always the worker, Saturday afternoons saw Donald setting out flags, preparing oranges and balls and, when everyone had gone home, sweeping out the changing rooms and washing the balls.
As Donald approaches his Diamond Jubilee with the Club he is as involved as ever – he also walks 7 or 8 miles every Wednesday and swims 5 times a week – an excellent example to us all of how to stay young at 81.
Bryan Whalley – The Tennis Foundation
Bryan has played tennis for much of his life and has represented Great Britain in national and international competitions. He first became a volunteer when he was still competing and has undertaken numerous roles as a volunteer for over 30 years.
A founder member of the British Deaf Tennis Association, established to encourage more young deaf people to participate in tennis, Bryan has been President of the Association for 10 years. Bryan lectures at Tennis Foundation Disabled Awareness Courses for Coaches and is an inspiring speaker.
Bryan has also worked tirelessly recently to write a History of Deaf Tennis, the first International Competition having taken place in 1924. This has been an extremely challenging task but he has recently obtained Heritage Lottery funding so that the history can be published.
Each year one of the Trust’s annual Awards is dedicated to the memory of the late Rt.Hon. Lord Aberdare, a founder member of the Trust. The Trustees were delighted to select Bryan for the Award this year, in recognition of the strong ties that Lord Aberdare had with Tennis over many years.
Brian White – The Football Association
Having served in the RAF during the 2nd World War and then training as a teacher, Brian joined the Dorset County FA Council in 1953 – nearly 55 years ago – and has given continuous service on the Council since that time on a voluntary basis.
Brian has held numerous positions during his time on the Council, but particularly focusing on Youth Football. He is an excellent example of ‘an unsung hero in sport’ and we are delighted to recognise his contribution this evening.