On Wednesday 30th November 2011, 19 volunteers were recognised for their work in sports volunteering at the Army and Navy Club for the 49th anniversary.
Presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, each winner received their award for outstanding contributions after being nominated by their National Governing Body.
Full details can be found below.
John Knight – England Athletics
John has given all of his spare time to athletics over many decades, both as an official and an administrator. Love for athletics is stamped through him like the writing in a stick of Blackpool rock – and he certainly is seen as a rock in Nottinghamshire. John has been a track official since the mid-seventies at local, county, regional and national level. His list of roles in athletics is vast, ranging from county secretary of the Nottinghamshire Amateur Athletic Association (NAAA) and chair of England Athletics, to overseeing major events held in Nottinghamshire, such as the Robin Hood Marathon.
Phillip Gardner – British Deaf Sports Council
Phillip has been at the forefront of deaf football since 2003, working tirelessly with his squad and in his search for new players across the UK. His squad has achieved success at the Summer Deaflympics, winning gold at Melbourne 2005 and only just missing out on a medal at Taipei 2009. They also won silver and 4th place at the European Deaf Championships in Portugal 2007 and Denmark 2009 respectively.
In between football, he is an archivist for the British Deaf Sports Council, gathering and preserving the history of deaf sports since pre-1900 and mainly cataloguing the Deaflympics and deaf football.
David Spencer – Badminton England
David’s commitment to local leagues spans 31 years. He was the secretary and a prime mover in creating the new Wirral league in 2004, which now has seven divisions and about 50 teams. His primary work at club level has been with the Crescent Badminton Club as club and match secretary, with roles as tournament secretary for Birkenhead’s district league and secretary of Hoylake’s district league. He has also made a worthy contribution to the Wirral Festival of Sport by organising an annual badminton tournament.
Cheshire County Badminton Association has received a huge amount of input from David since he first appeared on the council in 1989, acting as treasurer and registration secretary for 12 years, veterans secretary for 13 years, and tournament coordinator for six years. As a result, the county members of 2000 players have had a first-class administrator looking after their activities and welfare.
Duncan ‘Bob’ Turner – Welsh Fencing
Bob has served the sport of fencing throughout a long and distinguished career, joining his local fencing club in Cardiff as a school boy. He quickly made progress as a fencer and he was awarded his International Colours in the early sixties. As well as being a committed competitor, he had already started to give back a lot of his time to the club, in administration and other ways. He always found time to help where required, giving great priority to fencing at grassroots level.
His competitive success continued – with one of his greatest moments taking place at the 1974 Canadian Fencing Championships, where he lead the Welsh team to a silver medal. Back at home, Bob became a member of the Welsh Sports Council and chair of the Welsh Sports Association, as well as many other respected positions that have resulted in many people benefitting from his experience and great sense of fairness. In more recent times, Bob required major surgery but continued with the day-to-day administration of Welsh fencing throughout his recovery. Once back to full health, he immediately got back into competing in the World Veterans Championships in Australia.
Freda Bussey – Volleyball England
Former England International player Freda Bussey, has been the secretary of Ashcombe Volleyball Club for almost 35 years, after founding it in 1976. The junior squads have featured in various national finals since 1978, and over 30 international players have come about through her development programme. She was instrumental in securing the opening of the Ashcombe Volleyball Centre in 2000, and had critical involvement in the opening of a new beach volleyball court in Worthing earlier this year.
She has been the main organiser of the Ashcombe tournament since 1977 – an annual outdoor event which is played over two days. Freda also organises numerous junior tournaments at the volleyball centre throughout the year, often hosting national championship qualification pools. She is also a registered referee and has been developing her skills as a scorer in a training programme that prepares line judges and scorers for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Jo Maher – Lawn Tennis Association
Jo’s interest in tennis spans her whole lifetime, having played for more than 30 years and encouraged young people in a voluntary capacity to do the same. She established the Dorset County Schools Tennis Association and worked tirelessly to persuade schools to teach tennis, providing them with exciting competitive opportunities. At its height, there were hundreds of children taking part in local school competitions, and Dorset had one of the most successful County Schools Associations in the country.
Jo’s commitment and enthusiasm were infectious and she persuaded many others to help with the running of events for players of all ages and various abilities. When she became the British School Tennis Association’s representative on the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) council, her influence spread. Her contribution has always been immense and she has consistently put school tennis and the opportunities it presents, high on the agenda at the LTA. She also helped out at the Dorset County LTA and was captain of the ladies county team for many years.
Mike McBrien – Lawn Tennis Association
There are very few tennis players in Lancashire and Liverpool, who would not know Mike McBrien. A lifelong member of Vagabond’s Tennis Club and a volunteer in various roles for 39 years, he is currently president of the Liverpool Group Committee, having held a number of roles as tournament secretary, vice chairman and vice president since 1972.
He is, to many people the embodiment of Liverpool tennis. As a player, he won many doubles titles, at a time when Lancashire possessed many exceptional players. His role within the county association has been long and distinguished and he has a reputation for getting things done. He has given much of his time to providing tennis opportunities for young people, especially in deprived areas, so that they can continue to play tennis.
Ernie Pyke – The Football Association
Ernie Pyke has given a lifetime of service to football in Worcestershire, particularly at grassroots level. After playing to a high standard in the Kidderminster area in the late fifties, he then decided he wanted to make a greater contribution to the game and took up refereeing in 1961, being appointed a football league linesman in 1976. He then served the Kidderminster Referees Association as an officer for 23 years, with various roles that included secretary and then chairman. He was also the Worcester Referees Society’s secretary and chairman, and is now their president.
So many players also owe a debt to Ernie through the important roles and positions he has undertaken in the Kidderminster and district league. Joining the league’s council in 1969, he then became the registration secretary, and in 1980 became their honorary secretary – a position he still holds. He has also since become chairman. The league continues to thrive, and much of this is due to his dedication and outstanding leadership qualities.
Ken James – Rugby Football Union For Women
Ken James has been volunteering for the East Midlands Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire (NLD) area for over six years, having been around for longer than many of the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) staff. Starting out as the women and girls representative for club Paviors RFC, he is now the chairman of the whole club, being only the second person from the women and girls section to have achieved this honour. One of Ken’s main strengths, and what makes him stand out as an exceptional volunteer, is that he doesn’t move from one role to another but adds on new roles to his ever-growing workload.
Ken acts as a representative on various forums and committees and has been the driving force behind the NLD women and girls forum. At his own club known as Paviors, Ken has been instrumental in increasing player numbers amongst the junior girl sides, introducing specific recruitment schemes and establishing strong links with the local schools network.
Dave Marsden – Rugby Football Union
Dave Marsden is a popular pillar of grassroots rugby union in Hampshire, and as chair of the county’s community rugby group his great organisational and managerial skills have brought particular success in the areas of facilities and volunteering. He is described by friends and colleagues as ‘an out-and-out rugby man, who enjoys helping people to enjoy the game as much as they can and clubs to be as good as they can be’. He is a long-standing supporter of both Harvant RFC and Hampshire RFU and was coached at Havant FC since 1990, becoming involved at county level in 2002. In 2005, he was awarded the county badge for services to Hampshire RFU.
Through the Hampshire Facility Group, Dave has implemented development funds which have awarded £50,000 to 33 local clubs. He has visited every one of the 44 clubs in the county at least once, in his tireless efforts to improve their facilities and make them aware of routes to obtaining funding. He has also recently formulated a new programme to improve the retention of over-16 players, and developed many programmes to ensure that the efforts of volunteers are recognised.
Harold White – Northern Ireland Orienteering
Harold White was one of the founding members of the Northern Ireland Orienteering Association. Since then, he has become a key organiser across Ireland and has fulfilled many different roles, from planner and mapper to controller and organiser, working tirelessly to promote the sport to all parts of the community.
His contribution and commitment is reflected in his most recent role as coordinator for the Jan Kjellstrom International Orienteering Festival, held for the first time in Northern Ireland this year. It was highly successful and raised the standards for future years. It required over two years of planning to organise the four-day event, which hosted over 2,000 competitors, and despite the pressure of many late nights and early mornings, numerous meetings and more, Harold kept smiling and went that extra mile and more.
Peter Turner – Grand National Archery Society
Peter Turner has served the sport of archery for 50 years at club, regional and national level. He was a founder member of the junior section of Overton Black Arrows in 1962, and represented the country as a field archer. More recently, he has devoted himself to the backstage tasks that make others enjoyment of the sport more complete.
Peter is the embodiment of Overton Black Arrows and it is impossible to imagine it without him as he has set their ethos and the way they work. He rarely shoots now, but is always present two evenings a week judging commitments aside, giving coaching, help and encouragement.
When membership fell in the late 1990s he did everything himself to keep the club going and now, thanks to his dedication, numbers are rising again. There is hardly a member of the club that was not introduced to archery by Peter. Peter organised the Black Arrows annual field archery tournament and runs ‘have a go’ days at schools and fetes.
Jenni Morgan – British Gymnastics
Jenni Morgan was the founder and voluntary club leader at the Cheshunt Gym Club from 1989-2001. She qualified as a coach in women’s artistic gymnastics, the voluntary secretary of the Hertfordshire Gymnastics Association and the Eastern Counties Gymnastic Association secretary.
Her work includes attracting new members, maintaining the regional website, and monitoring all regional and national competition membership entries. She has been joint competition organiser for the Women’s Artistic Technical Committee East Region for the past three years, producing regional handbooks and collating competition entries. She became a club judge in 1989 and has been a regional judge from 1993 to the present time, voluntarily judging around 20 competitions per year.
Bill Barton – British Weightlifting
Bill Barton has been a member of the British Weight Lifting Association for fifty years serving as a competitor, coach, referee and administrator. In more recent times, Bill has devoted a significant amount of time as chairman, whilst running the affairs of Masters weightlifting at national, continental and international level.
Born in 1938, he started weightlifting in his late teens. His first club was Higher Broughton in Salford and then the Salford Club. It was here that he met his mentor and coach – Ted Cope as well as other lifelong friends. Through the sixties and seventies Bill was a competitor and winner in many weightlifting championships. After raising a family in the late eighties, he returned to competition aged 40 as a Masters lifter, winning many British Championship titles and setting records. He then continued his success to international level where he won a bronze medal at the International Masters Championships in 1989. Then in 1994, he competed in the World Masters Games and The World Masters Championships in Australia, winning gold medals in all his bodyweight classes. In 1997, he was elected as chairman of the British Masters Committee, a post he held until 2010.
In 2000, he retired from competitive weightlifting and was elected the chairman of the British Weight Lifters Association, a post he held until 2009.
Brian Barnett – The Amateur Swimming Association
Brian Barnett is dedicated to ensuring that everyone who wants to participate in swimming in Nottinghamshire can. After representing his country in athletics, Brian turned his interest to swimming in 1972 when his son began to swim. Within a short time, he decided that he wanted to be more involved with his club so he became a committee member and qualified as a swimming teacher, coach and lifeguard, dedicating 3 nights a week. He was chairman for ten years and was given the honour of life membership in 1996. He has also given his time to officiate at county events.
Brian began his work at county level in 1985 when he joined the Nottinghamshire Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) Executive Committee. In 1989, Brian was awarded his County Blazer Badge for outstanding work, and in 1998 he became president of Nottinghamshire County ASA. He has been involved in all areas of volunteering and is more than happy to offer his advice and assistance to young swimmers and volunteers.
David Gavrilovic – British Blind Sport
David Gavrilovic is a totally blind young man who volunteers his time with British Blind Sport. He has been a member for over ten years, and trustee and chair of the cricket section for five years. He gives his time to organise the cricket league, which culminates in a knockout cup final at the end of the season, and which he assists in securing sponsorhip.
Despite his ability and young age, he engages with other visually impaired youngsters and adults and shows them that they are able to participate in sport, giving them a sense of achievement that is good for their general wellbeing. British Blind Sport is a national organisation and as such, the events David organises can be all over the country. He attends them all enthusiastically and on a voluntary basis.
Terry McLernon – Scottish Disability Sport
Terry is head coach at the Drumchapel Table Tennis Club, which he started 20 years ago with just one table on a Friday night in the local sports centre. Now with its own premises, the club is one of the biggest in Britain with over 250 members training there every week. The club is for the community, and inspires young local people to grow and develop personally through sport. He has been instrumental in making the club thrive in a disadvantaged area of Glasgow.
Six years ago, Terry also wanted to encourage young people with a disability to benefit from physical, social and personal development through table tennis. Proving that everything that Terry commits to happens, he has worked with many schools to attract young people with a range of different disabilities, who have subsequently joined the club and are enjoying the benefits. The club has won several club and coaching awards, and continues to operate on a voluntary basis.
Mohammed Ali Hanif – Manchester United Foundation
Ali is described by his peers as an outstanding example to all volunteers and a young man with a tremendous amount of determination, eagerness to help others and willingness to go above and beyond. Since Ali joined the Kickz project as a participant with an interest in helping out, he has logged more than 600 hours of volunteering with the project and 150 hours at various other Manchester United events.
He has been involved with the planning, delivery and evaluation of coaching sessions, arranging community competitions and tournaments, fundraising for the Kickz project and local youth centre, staffing residential trips, delivering sessions to children who live in service’s accommodation, to children whose parents are serving aboard and he has developed strong links with the local police organising games for our older participants. In September 2011 Ali volunteered as a goalkeeping coach and accompanied the Manchester United Foundation squad to Belfast to compete for the George Best Memorial Trophy.
Ian Proctor – Fulham Football Club Foundation
Ian Proctor is a valuable volunteer on the Fulham Football Club (FFC) Foundation’s Community Champions volunteer project, and has been since 2009. Ian, who has learning difficulties, coaches on our Down’s Syndromes Tennis session delivered in partnership with the Tennis Foundation, at the National Tennis Centre and at a school in Kingston. During the school holidays, Ian also volunteers on the disability holiday courses which are delivered at the FFC training ground in Motspur Park, Surrey. He assists the coaching team by taking the young participants for warm-ups whilst the coaches prepare the session, and then continues to assist with the coaching throughout.
When Ian joined the Community Champions programme he was a shy, young person, nervous about public speaking and interacting with others. He is now a fantastic role model to the participants on the course and having successfully completed a Level 1 qualification in football and tennis coaching, he has gained a lot of confidence and self-esteem as a coach. He has even appeared on the new Community Champions DVD, and become a serving member of the newly established FFC Foundation Youth Forum.