On Wednesday 19th November 2008, 18 volunteers were recognised for their work in sports volunteering at the Army and Navy Club for the 46th anniversary.
Presented by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, each winner received their award for outstanding contributions after being nominated by their National Governing Body.
Details of recipients can be found below.
Peter Adams – The Football Association
Peter joined the Surrey County Football Association Council in 1972, after a distinguished playing career. He then became a much-respected club and league administrator in grassroots football. Peter rightly earned a reputation for his fairness and administrative qualities, not only in Surrey but a much wider football circle.
His first administrative post within the County was that of Youth Secretary, a post he held for over 25 years. In 1989 Peter became Chairman of Surrey County FA and, after four years, he resigned to take up the post of Honorary County Secretary, which he held for seven years until the Association appointed a full-time paid Secretary. Peter continued to serve on the Council and in various positions, in particular in the area of refereeing, and was honoured for his distinguished services to Surrey football by being appointed President of the Council, a position he still holds. Peter always dedicated himself to football in Surrey as a player, club and league administrator, referee and County FA official – but he still found time to play cricket for 50 years!
Steve Benson – Rugby Football Union
Steve is the current Chairman of Ellingham and Ringwood RFC, as well as the current Club Volunteer Co-ordinator. Included in the roles that he has held within the club are Honorary Secretary and Junior Chairman and Secretary. He is a qualified referee and coach and continues to turn out and play for the club occasionally. Undoubtedly the Ellingham and Ringwood has benefited from his involvement and his legacy at the club will be lasting. Steve was responsible for setting up the now flourishing youth section at Ellingham and Ringwood, which now boasts 227 registered members under the age of 18. Steve coached one of the early sides from mini’s U7 through to colt’s level. Having been successful with mini and juniors, Steve then set his mind on establishing the girls and ladies sides, which now sees adult ladies and U15 sides. Through the efforts of Steve, the club was able to relocate to the centre of Ringwood with facilities that meet current standards for a growing club. This has culminated in very successful fund-raising initiatives in the local community, with the near-completed £750,000 project providing a sports pavilion, two rugby pitches, artificial cricket wicket, grass 300m athletics track and four 18m training flood lighting columns. There is no doubt that those wishing to participate in sport in the Ringwood area owe a great debt of gratitude to Steve Benson.
Sheila Clark – England Netball
Sheila was a founder member of Bury Ladies Netball League, which is now celebrating its 50th season. The league has grown from six to 65 teams and now has a waiting list. Sheila has served on its committee for 35 years as Umpire Secretary, ensuring that every match – 24 matches per week during the season – has two qualified umpires. New teams joining the league only have to provide a trainee and Sheila ensures that a qualified umpire is present to cover the game.
Sheila was instrumental in developing the Umpire Training Scheme, which has been adopted by other leagues in Greater Manchester. Each team has one qualified umpire and one trainee umpire and the teams have two years to obtain a qualified umpire. At least two nights a week Sheila umpires for the league, ensuring that the qualified umpires provide a positive attitude to the trainee umpires and that teams have respect and patience with the trainees. Sheila always has a smile and numerous stories to tell and her enthusiasm for the game keeps everyone else involved. Bury Ladies Netball League owes Sheila a great debt of gratitude for the very high standard it has achieved.
Janice Eaglesham – Scottish Athletics
Janice is one of Scotland’s most experienced and respected coaches of athletes with a disability and has given up a huge amount of her free time over more than 25 years to take her athletes from grassroots involvement to Paralympic participation. Her first involvement in athletics was around 1970 when, at the age of 12, Janice ran for Edinburgh
Southern Harriers in middle distance and cross country. Whilst still training herself, Janice helped her coach with visually impaired and paraplegic athletes. Now living and working in Glasgow, Janice became involved with Maryhill Adult Training Centre, helping the rehabilitation of disabled people through sport. Janice became involved with Scottish Disability Sport in 1985 and has worked tirelessly since then to improve the athletic opportunities for athletes to compete throughout the UK. At a local level, Janice was a founder member of Red Star Athletic Club, where she continues to coach twice a week. It is recognised as one of the strongest athletic clubs in the UK for athletes with a disability and has produced a large number of athletes who have progressed to compete at international and Paralympic level. Quite simply, Janice is an invaluable asset to athletics in Scotland and throughout the UK.
Sheila Edmunds – The Football Association
Sheila is a true legend in women’s football. Prior to The Football Association taking complete responsibility for the women’s game, the Women’s Football Association lacked resources and finance. Despite this Sheila was one of the crusaders who laid the foundations of the women’s game.
A founder member and player of Doncaster Rovers Belles, then known as Belle Vue Belles, Sheila and other girls were selling draw tickets on the terraces of Doncaster Rovers’ Belle Vue Ground and in 1971 the club changed its name to Doncaster Belles. Sheila played a central role in the first team for over 15 years and her husband was the club’s coach. In 1983 the Doncaster Belles reached the first of six successive Women’s FA Cup Finals.
After hanging up her boots, Sheila took on the role of club physio and became the club’s President. She continues to attend all of the Belles’ matches, home and away, in her other role as Club Welfare Officer. The team view her as a ‘mother figure’ and look to her for parental care and guidance. Sheila is known throughout the sport for her dedication to the game and Doncaster Rovers Belles would not be the club it is today without her time, energy and enthusiasm.
Donald Edwards – Fields in Trust NPFA
Don first played for Crockham Hill Football Club, based at King George’s Field in Westerham, in the mid-1950s when he was about 14 years old. Then, after leaving school he continued to play for the village team.
In the mid-1960s Don took over as Secretary of the club, where his responsibilities included team selection, marking out the pitch and other groundsmen’s duties. He continued in this role until 1988 when, due to work commitments, he stood down as the Secretary and took over as the club’s Treasurer, a role he fulfils to this day. Therefore, for more than 40 years Don has been continuously responsible for offering both administrative and invaluable practical support to the club and the King George’s Field. Don has a number of humorous stories of his time with the club and no doubt will be happy to share some of these with others attending the Awards Evening.
Gerald Farrell – Archery GB
Gerald discovered archery at the age of 13, whilst playing on the hill near his parents’ home. He stumbled across Pentref Bowmen Archery Club and knew it was the sport for him. He has competed in various disciplines, achieved British records and has been involved as a volunteer with the club since he joined more than 25 years ago.
Gerald is always the first to help with anything associated with the club, from preparing for any competitions the club is hosting to cutting the grass around the clubhouse! He is a Trustee of the club and has been a member of the committee for the last 20 years, undertaking numerous roles including being the Tournament Organiser for the British and Open Championships, designing the two courses but also taking the entries and overseeing the administration involved with the competition – no mean feat when there are over 150 entries in various classes and
styles. Finally, Gerald stood down as Chairman last year so that he could concentrate on the World FITA Field Archery Championships, which were held in September 2008 at Pentref Bowmen Club Grounds. Gerald loves to give his time in order that others can continue to enjoy archery and those who participate in the sport are very appreciative of his commitment to enable them to participate in archery at all levels.
Henry Folkard – British Mountaineering Council
Following his retirement in 1999, Henry has worked tirelessly in a voluntary capacity for the BMC, with a focus on access to the countryside, nature conservation and environmental protection issues. The Chief Executive of BMC states that, in his opinion, Henry is the single most valuable volunteer serving the climbing, hill walking and mountaineering community, giving approximately 35 hours of his time voluntarily every week for the benefit of the BMC Members.
Included in some of the voluntary work that Henry has undertaken is fighting for access during the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak, working with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust in Cheedale to recruit climbers to abseil down some disused limekilns to place nesting boxes for swifts and addressing car crime problems for climbers and hill walkers in the Peak District. Through Henry’s communication skills, the hill walking and climbing community have a greater
understanding of the pressures on the environment and the steps that must be taken to ensure that all groups, environmentalists and recreationalists, understand and trust each other. The BMC states that it can think of no better recipient for the Torch Trophy Award amongst the climbing fraternity.
Doreen Willcocks – England Netball
Doreen has worked for 63 years to develop the sport of netball. While still a teenager, Doreen started Pinehurst Netball Club in Swindon, which itself celebrates its 62nd birthday this year. Over the years Doreen has held the role of coach, umpire, and trainer and is now President. Every match Saturday sees Doreen courtside, often there from 10 am until 4 pm. She also attends most training nights, getting there early for the younger players.
Doreen is constantly recruiting volunteers to become involved in netball and has recruited coaches, umpires, scorers, organisers, managers and many more, supporting all volunteers, whatever club they represent. Making people aware of the need for a junior league, Doreen encouraged clubs to work to make this possible and today there are at least six clubs running several junior sections. She also started an Over 35 league, which enables more mature players
to enjoy matches in a fun but still competitive environment. Having trained as a teaching assistant, Doreen was designated to take responsibility for disabled children, giving her a deep understanding of their problems and resulting in her running a weekly club for people with disabilities, involving them in sport. In addition, Doreen is a very active fund-raiser for Cancer Research and, to date, has been responsible for raising over £100,000 for Churchill Hospital, Oxford. Doreen believes that team sport is an education in Hospital, Oxford. Doreen believes that team sport is an education in its own right, with its discipline, team spirit and respect for others and, over the years, Doreen has seen hundreds of girls grow up to become mature and caring citizens. She epitomises the word ‘volunteer’.
Andrew Winks – Judo Scotland
Andy Winks has been involved in the sport of judo for over 40 years. The vast majority of this time has been spent as a volunteer at judo competitions across the UK and further afield. However, it is within Scotland that Andy has made the greatest impact. The crowning achievements of his volunteering career have been his involvement in the Judo World Championships in Birmingham and the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
Over the years Andy has moved through all levels of volunteering in competitions to reach the position of Competition Controller and he is Scotland’s most experienced official. As the top tournament official, Andy has the honour of being the Competition Controller for the Scottish Open Tournament, the premier tournament in the Scottish judo calendar. Andy is also heavily involved in the recruitment, training and evaluation of competition volunteers. This is essential to the future of judo in Scotland and his input can be in no way underestimated. Judo Scotland believes a Torch Trophy Trust Award is a very fitting way to acknowledge Andy’s contribution as a volunteer to the sport.
Hilary Steel – The Rugby Football League
Hilary, now in her 70s, lives, eats and breathes rugby league. She is currently Secretary of Warrington Amateur Rugby League (ARL), Chair of the North West Counties ARL and Secretary of North West Counties Youth ARL. Hilary’s role in Warrington encompasses all age groups, from Under 8’s through to open age, whilst she also sits on other committees including Warrington Sports Council and Service Area.
The North West Counties Youth ARL, which runs a competition for Under 16’s, 17’s and 18’s has, under Hilary’s guidance, gone from strength to strength and, in fact, it was the first league to achieve the RFL League Mark Award.
Hilary’s all round knowledge of amateur rugby league is immense and she has performed almost every off-field role within the game and has loved every minute of it. As the RFL state, without volunteers like Hilary the game would not flourish and they can think of no better person to win this prestigious award.
Sylvia Taylor – The Great Britain Boccia Federation
Sylvia has been involved with boccia for 10 years, initially providing support for her partner, Nigel Murray, double Paralympics Gold medallist and then progressing to be part of the care team for the GB Boccia Team. Boccia is predominately played by athletes with severe cases of cerebral palsy and these individuals require high levels of round-the-clock care and the use of electric wheelchairs. It is similar to the French game of boules and is played with
leather balls, with the aim to get as many of your balls as close to the ‘jack’ as possible. It is a highly tactical and skill-based sport and is played at the Paralympics Games. Sylvia has played “the” key role in setting standards for blending the quality of care required by the athletes and the needs of high performance athletes when competing at the very highest levels in the world. The GB Boccia Team were recently recognised by UK Sport as providing a World Class environment for the team to train and compete and this is largely due to Sylvia’s attitude and approach to her role leading the care team. In addition, Sylvia provides athlete support at events for a number of the more severely disabled athletes when they compete. Sylvia does not receive payment for any of this work and travels to every GB training weekend, to every competition in which the team participates and provides the coaching and support for her partner, Nigel Murray. Traditionally accolades for success go to athletes and the GB Boccia Federation believes that the presentation of a Torch Trophy Trust Award would truly be recognition of one of the many thousands of ‘unsung heroes’ of sport.
Andrew Francey – Irish Hockey
Andrew Francey, or Drew, as he is affectionately known in hockey circles, is a one club man, having devoted his sporting life to Antrim Hockey Club. He joined the club from school, progressing swiftly through the playing ranks to the 1st XI. However, a serious ankle injury curtailed a promising playing career at the age of 22 and Drew turned to umpiring – a relationship that was to last for over 35 years. Drew achieved the highest levels as an umpire and, although he officially ‘hung up the whistle’ some years ago, he can still be seen umpiring the occasional junior fixture.
As an administrator, Drew has served the Club for over 40 years as a committee member, holding various positions during this period including Match Secretary, Club Secretary, Groundsman and Media Officer. Drew has also given sterling service to the governing body , the Ulster Branch of the Irish Hockey Association, for over 30 years, as an elected member of Council. A personal reflection that the President of the Ulster Branch makes in his nomination refers to the tragic death of three of the club’s players in a car crash in 1988. In the dark days following the tragedy the future of the club was uncertain and it was due in no small part to the personal fortitude and strength shown by Drew that the Club was eventually able to regroup and retake its high rank amongst Ulster hockey clubs.
Howard Jones – Modern Pentathlon Association of Great Britain
Howard has been involved in modern pentathlon (running, swimming, shooting, fencing and horse riding) and biathle (continuous running and swimming) as a volunteer for over 30 years, undertaking a number of positions including Director of the General Council, Regional Secretary, Chairman of Biathle, Team Manager of GB Biathle Team and organiser of the World Biathle Championships at Salford in 2006.
Biathle was introduced in 1991 by the International Federation of Modern Pentathlon to increase the number of nations participating and as talent identification for the sport. It has its own annual World Championships and World Series, in which Great Britain is very actively involved. Howard’s direct involvement in biathalon includes every role, from strategic development, to competition organisation, to standing on cold, windswept beaches, shivering in solidarity with the athletes. Great Britain has been the most successful nation in the World Championships, winning 24 medals at last year’s Championships in Monaco.
Howard has never focussed on the elite end of the sport; he is still involved at the grass roots in the North West Region, spending his time and energy enabling young athletes to fulfil their full potential, whilst juggling his responsibilities as a family man and his love of renovating Morgan cars!
Jason Kennedy – GB Wheelchair Basketball Association
The Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club is a member group of Disability Sports Northern Ireland, which is the organisation which represents the vast majority of disability sports clubs and organisations in Northern Ireland. The Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club was formed in 1990, with the aim of providing a structure for physically disabled people to become involved in a team sport which would give them the opportunity to improve their fitness, lead a healthy lifestyle, increase social interaction and win sporting success. The club, based in Antrim, but attracting players from all over Northern Ireland, has senior, junior & development teams, ranging in age from six to 46.
A fireman by profession, Jason’s involvement with the Knights started in 2000, when he was asked to help the club with some coaching for a short period. Over eight years later Jason is still with the club, taking coaching sessions every Tuesday and Thursday evening and travelling with the team to all their league matches in England and Scotland, as well as coaching the team at a number of European events. He has also helped out with coaching the Knights Junior Team and often steps in at short notice to travel with the junior team to competitions in England.
Apart from his contribution on the basketball court, Jason is a committee member and has organised several fund-raising events for for the club, bringing in thousands of pounds over a number of years. He also represents the club on a number of committees, writes articles for magazines and newspapers and attends promotional events during the day, evenings and at weekends. Newly married, his wife often wonders whether he is married to her or the Knights Basketball Club!
Terence Pateman– Irish Football Association
Terence has been involved with the Northern Amateur League, the largest league in membership of the Irish Football Association (IFA), for 40 years and in that period served as Assistant Honorary Secretary from 1968 to 1976, as Honorary Secretary from 1976 to 1985 and Vice-Chairman from 1985 to date.
In addition, Terence operated as Fixture Secretary and Player Registration Secretary for the League during this time, as well as representing the League at the County Antrim Divisional Association. He also served as President of that Association for two years and Chairman of the Junior Committee for three years. Terence was elected to the Council of the IFA, where he held the position of Chairman of the Junior Cup Committee and was a past member of the Youth International Committee, representing Northern Ireland at youth international games abroad. Terence used the experience he gained during his period with the IFA to lead the Northern Amateur League Youth Team to a prestigious Tournament in Italy on four occasions during the past five years. He carries out all his roles with total commitment and personal drive, to the benefit of football in Northern Ireland.
Sue Redfern – English Lacrosse
Sue has provided many years of voluntary service to English Lacrosse. Her considerable administrative skills have contributed to the development of lacrosse at county, national and international level and she has been involved in a wide range of committees including the National Events Committee and the Executive Committee.
Apart from using her organisational skills in a range of lacrosse events, Sue’s talents and determination were most evident as co-ordinator for the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse World Cup held in High Wycombe in 2001. The organisation for this prestigious event covered a three-year lead-in period, during which she chaired and led the Organising Committee. To this day players who took part in that World Cup Competition fondly recall their experiences, which is a testament to the vision and determination that Sue had for holding and organising the successful event.
Most recently Sue has made a significant contribution in progressing the amalgamation of the men’s and women’s International Lacrosse Federations as a member of the Transition Board. Sue has a passion for lacrosse and is a truly dedicated volunteer, contributing to all levels of the game for over 30 years. Recognition for this work is well deserved.
Peter Smith – The Amateur Rowing Association
Peter has been a member of Globe Rowing Club since the 1950s and has held many roles within the club during that time, always putting the club and the sport of rowing first.
Since retiring from work five years ago, Peter has dedicated more and more time to the club, not just to the growing junior section, but also as Secretary to the Trafalgar Rowing Centre. He has played a very important role meeting builders, architects, local council members and Sport England, in order to get the Centre off the ground. It is firmly believed that but for him the Centre would not have been realised. The junior section of the Globe Rowing Club is one of the most successful in the country and it is amazing how Peter creates an eager spirit in the youngsters for early morning rows, often in difficult tides at Greenwich. He is repaid with total respect from them. Peter has made a significant contribution to the sport of rowing in Greenwich for the past 50 years and is still as active as ever, all of this on a totally voluntary basis.