Our congratulations to our 2018 National Volunteer Award winners who were presented and recognised at Hall of Fame and Volunteer Awards evening. Ten awards were made to people, clubs and organisations who have given so much time and energy to the sport.
The categories were; Spirit of 2012 Award, Inclusion, Coach, Official, Athletics or Running Club, Volunteer, Young Volunteer, Inclusion Award, RunTogether Group of the Year, RunTogether Leader of the Year, plus Services to Athletics or Running
A little about each winner is detailed below, but you can find more information about this year’s winners and those from previous years at www.englandathletics.org/volunteer-awards. The evening also saw a number of Athletics Greats inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame, some of our Gold Coast Commonwealth Games team presentations made to three Ron Pickering Memorial Fund Athletes of the Year, plus the David Sunderland Memorial Bursary.
Spirit of 2012 Award: Bracknell AC Game Changers
Bracknell AC Game Changers, a group of young people who threw themselves into Phase One of the Game Changers project. Now all qualified Coaching Assistants, many have done Disability Inclusion Training, some have even completed a Cerebral Palsy Leadership workshop, these young people’s dedication to their own development and the opportunities they can offer the club are incredible.
The Game Changers all had a lot to say! Caroline kicked off by telling us, “I’m incredibly proud of this lot; we’ve got those with Games Force awards, Assistant Coach qualifications and Paediatric First Aiders. Plus three are mentoring the new intake of 13 Game Changers.” Orla also referred to the new intake; “I’m excited to allow even more young athletes into this amazing community.”
Natasha said, “It’s been really inspiring to come here and see all the other successful people in athletics.” and Charlotte added, ” It’s very motivating to help us carry on.” Connie agreed, “This evening has been very inspiring and I feel very privileged to be able to coach such amazing athletes and aid their development.”
Joel noted, “I’ve loved the experience of coaching this year. It’s helped me develop as an athlete myself and also develop my confidence. Thanks to my coach Andy Hughes for mentoring me and helping me develop.”
Sam concluded, “It’s inspired me to keep coaching to get to the highest level I can. I love to see athletes develop and hopefully see them here one day because we’ve inspired them.”
Natasha Bennett, Orla Breslin, Charlotte Johnson, Sam Russell, Joel Cable and Connie McCafferty collected the award
Inclusion Award: Adam Thomas
Adam Thomas, who works with S-Factor Academy’s disability group. He has grown the group from 1 leader and 5 athletes, to more than 10 qualified helpers and 100 unique participants. His work has opened doors for so many individuals to get involved that wouldn’t have otherwise.
Adam told us after receiving his award, “I’m honoured and this is only going to spur me on to bigger and better things and push the boundaries for our para-athletes.”
Athletics or Running Club of the Year: Orion Harriers
Orion Harriers, who have forged alliances with local schools, offering leadership opportunities to young coaches and officials. Individuals from low-income backgrounds can access subsidised or free sessions and resources, they organised a team to volunteer at the World Outdoor Championships in London and have created a ‘teenage girls social running group’ to combat a trend of teenage girls dropping out of the sport.
Roy Perrott and Tim Wright, collected the award on behalf of their club, “This is an award for all volunteers at all clubs; coaches, athletes and volunteers – in recognition of all the good work volunteers do in clubs up and down the country.”
Roy Perrott and Tim Wright, representing Orion Harriers, collected the award from David Barnett from Track & Field Tours
Coach of the Year: Janice Kaufman
Janice Kaufman’s dedication to Coaching is outstanding. She has coached athletes to the very top level and supported local coaches through delivering workshops and inviting them to watch her sessions and share her knowledge.
Janice said, “I’m honoured to have been awarded Coach of the Year. Thank you to the athletes I’ve coached over the years for making me look good. Thanks to England Athletics for their support and the many workshops I’ve attended.”
Janice collected the award from Toni Minichiello
RunTogether Group of the Year: Mind & Sole
Mind & Sole, who support runners from all backgrounds, specialising in supporting those who struggle with their mental health. Christine, the Run Leader, inspires her runners to overcome their struggles through her sessions, providing a safe platform for runners to open up, alongside getting fit!
Christine Smith accepted the award on behalf of the group; “I’m absolutely overwhelmed. I’d like to thank my Run Leaders – especially Jayne Baker and Alison Cowens – for their help, and of course everybody who comes along.”
Christine collected the award from Matt Birkett, England Athletics Head of Athletics & Running
RunTogether Leader of the Year: Danielle Guy
Danielle Guy, whose group has grown immensely. The £1 charge she used to put on her runs was used to fund keen individuals through their Run Leader training. She now has a committee behind the group to support its development, and Danielle’s efforts to crowdfund and secure financial support mean she can now offer the sessions free to her runners.
Danielle told us, “I’d like to thank all my other leaders who have given up their time to help the group expand – it really is a team effort.”
Danielle collected the award from Dan Parkinson, England Athletics Participation Programmes Manager
Volunteer of the Year: Lawrence Wade
Lawrence Wade, who fills in any gaps he sees. He organises competitions for City of Norwich Athletes, has established a system for Vision Impaired runners and guide runners, drives runners to competitions, staffs parkrun recently and writes running programmes.
Kerry Marland-Reay collected the award on behalf of Lawrence from David Barnett from Track & Field Tours
Young Volunteer of the Year: Rebecca Pickard
Rebecca Pickard, a member of the England Athletics Youth Panel. Rebecca is an Event Group Sprints and Hurdles Coach, travels the country with the team she manages and is qualified Photo Finish and Field Official. She supported the Team Spirit Conference, and her willingness to share knowledge is inspirational.
Rebecca was reticent in her chat with us! “I am very honoured to receive this award. I love everything that I do in the sport and this is the cherry on the cake.”
Official of the Year: Lynne Marr
Lynne Marr, a North East based Official, and Officials Mentor. Lynne manages leagues, officiates locally in a range of disciplines, supports other Officials, officiates disability events and is hugely respected both in the North East and beyond!
After collecting her award, Lynne said, “I’m overwhelmed to win. I wasn’t expecting to win. I’m just working with other officials. I believe you learn from experienced officials and not just from a course.”
Lynne collected the award from Toni Minichiello
Services to Athletics or Running: John Howley
John Howley, a legendary name in the Race-Walking community. John’s impact on the Race-Walking community has been unparalleled. Although he was ill in 2014/15 he has bounced back and is now busier than ever, raising the profile of race walking in Yorkshire & Humberside.
John commented, “I am totally surprised and shocked – surprised I was even nominated! I’d like to thank Jill Hodgson and Janita Maaranen for nominating me. Thanks too to everyone for their support.”
John collected the award from Toni Minichiello
Dave Cropper Award
Dave Cropper OBE was a former International and Olympic middle distance runner who dedicated his life to the sport of athletics. Dave was chairman of AAA for 13 years when it was the governing body for the sport. In addition Dave helped to set up the charity Athletics for the Young.
The 800m Awards to commemorate the outstanding service Dave gave to athletics over many years were presented to:
- Male 800m Athlete 2018: Max Burgin.
- Female 800m Athlete 2018: Keely Hodgkinson
Ron Pickering Memorial Fund
A coach and well-loved BBC commentator, Ron Pickering passed away in 1991 and since then the fund set up by his family the has raised and awarded over £1.5 million in small but very significant grants to over 2000 young British athletes, to help fulfil their potential.
Three Ron Pickering Memorial Fund 2018 Athletes of the Year are recognised:
- U23 Athlete of the Year: Laviai Neilsen
- U20 Athlete of the Year: Niamh Emerson
- U18 Athlete of the Year: Sam Bennett
David Sunderland Memorial Bursary
The Memorial Bursary set up in David Sunderland’s name was also presented – this aims to support development opportunities for coaches and the recipient this year is Helen Clitheroe. England Athletics Teams and COmpetitions Manager Andy Day presented the award.
Helen coaches coaches endurance from U20 level through to veterans at Preston Harriers. She is currently the steeplechase coordinator and talent coach mentor where she looks after and mentors coach and athlete pairs. Her knowledge not only as an international athlete but also now a renowned coach is freely shared and cascaded down to other coaches she works and interacts with. She was recently part of the England endurance team at the Commonwealth Games out in the Gold Coast, Australia. Her passion for the sport means she is frequently away from home at competitions and coaching events and attends events to meet and talk to other coaches.
She won a charity event in 2008 which was similar to Strictly Come Dancing where she had to learn the Quick Step and Samba in six weeks. When she was an athlete she set a national record in the heats of the 3000m steeplechase at the 2008 Olympic Games.
She is a most worthy recipient of the prestigious Dave Sunderland Award – Dave would approve that the award goes to a former international athlete, who he used to watch compete and who has successfully transitioned to being a great coach and mentor to others.
Formal photos from the night by Mark Shearman
Informal photos by Nicola Evans