Volunteers recognised at 2017 England Athletics Hall of Fame
Our congratulations to our 2017 National Volunteer Award winners who were presented and recognised at Hall of Fame and Volunteer Awards evening. Eight awards were made to people, clubs and organisations who have given so much time and energy to the sport. The categories were, Coach, Official, Club, Volunteer, Young Volunteer, Innovation Project, Run Group of the Year, plus Services to Athletics.
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, presentations made to three Ron Pickering Memorial Fund Athletes of the Year, plus the David Sunderland Memorial Bursary. Also in attendance were some of the athletes from the Nitro team that travelled to Australia in February, and some of our 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games team and staff. Click here to read more.
Club of the Year: Buxton AC
Buxton AC is a welcoming club, striving to overcome participation barriers and create a place for everyone to be successful.
Club Chair Christopher Bent who collected the award told us, "40 years ago at our first event - the Buxton 5 - the winner was a friend of Brendan Foster and he said that we should do tthe same thing in Buxton as you've done in Gateshead. 40 years on and it's a different achievement with the club still flourishing. "
He continued, "I'm just the figurehead and everyone helps in the work - it's not just one or two volunteers like at many sports clubs - at Buxton AC everyone does their bit - it's a fantastic club."
Innovation Project of the Year: Pattinson Athletics Initiative
Pattinson Athletics Initiative is a project working to combat childhood obesity in one of the UK’s poorest areas.
Gordon Bell from Gateshead Harriers said, "It's very much a partnership in being able to offer a facility to local young people who might not otherwise get the chance to try out athletics." Sarah Gorman from Community charity Edberts House added, "We both used our expertise - the Harriers for the sport and us for community development. It's a necessary mix of skills to get young people into the stadium for the first time."
Here's a video the project put together:
Coach of the Year: Bronwin Carter
Bronwin has been coaching Javelin and Shot Put for 35 years. Her varied experiences have given her the knowledge base to successfully work with over 40 athletes, of mixed age, gender, technical ability, and including 6 disability athletes.
She is known to push through illness and terrible weather conditions to commit herself to an incredibly diverse group of over 40 athletes, 6 times a week. And moreover, she also finds the time to mentor other coaches!
Bronwin was absolutely surprised to be called up as winner. "It's a wonderful accolade. A big thank you to England Athletics who have always supported my coaching, and to all my athletes - especially my disabled athletes who deserve this just as much as me."
Run Together Leader / Group of the Year: Dudley Garner / Up the Tempo
Dudley was a non-runner, until rehabilitation from a brain injury led him to start. Now, he provides personalised support to a large group of runners from varying backgrounds.
Dudley told us, "It's absolutely overwhelming - an incredible evening with incredible people and their amazing stories. There are so many people doing amazing things through adverse conditions." He showed us a message he'd received earlier that day from one of his runners Diana Postle:
Joy emerges from the ashes of adversity - Up The Tempo is passing the baton onto members as they emerge with joy from the ashes of adversity of their own.
Volunteer of the Year: Nicholas Taylor
Nick Taylor is man of immense passion and many talents. As co-founder of Didsbury Runners, he has given countless hours to planning routes, leading runs, organising events and even hedge trimming troublesome bushes on his preferred routes!
Nick told us, "First I would like to thank Yvonne Hung (also pictured) for nominating me. Setting up Didsbury Runners with her has been one of the best things I have ever done and only strengthens my belief in how running can bring a lot of happiness to a lot of people. Also I must say thank you to all the Didsbury Runners, our committee, and of course our amazing Run Leaders."
Nick's parents Janet and Don were also at the event; "We are very proud of him."
Young Volunteer of the Year: Liam Hunt
An active member of the England Athletics Youth Panel, Liam juggles volunteering commitments with a busy university schedule! Liam’s thirst for knowledge and experiences has led him to becoming a guide runner, immersing himself in the Special Olympics and taking on the role of Treasurer for UEA Athletics.
Liam noted that it was interesting to hear all his different roles mentioned and nice to put together all the pieces. It's great that youth have a representation at the Awards this year and to see young peoplefilling in other volunteer roles and not just being athletes." He summarised, "It's too fun not to do it, so do it!"
Official of the Year: Gordon Staines
Starting out his volunteering as a coach, Gordon responded to the call of his athletics club asking for officials in 1990. Now a Level 4 starter official, Gordon gives his time at the most prestigious of athletics meetings, including Commonwealth Games, European Championships, World IAAF Championships, World Para Athletics Championships and Olympic Games. Despite all this success, Gordon has never turned his back on his local club, Chesterfield AC and Derby AC.
Gordon told us, "I'm very honoured to receive the award. I'd like to thank Frank Gorman for nominating me and England Athletics for recognising my volunteer work for them. It's a wonderful evening!"
Services to Athletics: Gordon Agar
Gordon has been giving their time for over 30 years, in the role of coach, official, team manager and club president.
Gordon's daughter Maria told us, "Without people like my dad there wouldn't beany grassroots athletics - people his age are still going strong!"
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 2017 Athletes of the Year are recognised:
- U23 Athlete of the Year: Reece Prescod
- U20 Athlete of the Year: Maya Bruney
- U18 Athlete of the Year: Alastair Chalmers
Reece said that his form and wins had been seen as a breakthrough but he knew it was going to happen. Of his British Champs win and World Athletics races, "It was great being in front of a British crowd."
Maya said, "Getting gold really gives me a boost as I enter the Senior Age Group. U23 is going to be tough but it's a real positive to see new athletes coming through."
Alistair said the additional funding has given him a real boost and would be really helpful for the additional travel and accommodation costs living in Guernsey ensues."
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 Bud Baldaro. England Athletics Head of Athlete and Coach Development, Martin Rush presented the award.
An enthusiastic schoolboy cross country runner in Birmingham, football was his passion... until as a 17-year-old Bud watched Ron Clarke shatter the world record for 3 miles at the 1965. He was hooked from then on. A decent runner himself, primarily for Tipton Harriers, it was as a coach that he made an indelible impression on our sport. From 1977 he was involved and after taking early retirement as a teacher, he became the endurance running coach at the University of Birmingham as well as holding other key posts. He has coached at least 50 runners to international class, all of whom are united in their respect, admiration and affection for their mentor. Lisa York, who was the inspiration for Kelly Holmes to resume her dormant athletics career, Chicago marathon winner Marian Sutton, Eddie Wedderburn, Luke Gunn, Bev Hartigan and World medallist Hannah England to name a few.
Although in 2009 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, he has continued to coach at the highest level as well as organising fun runs and charity events which have raised many thousands of pounds for research into the condition. He retired from his role as national coach mentor at England Athletics in 2016.
Formal photos from the night by Mark Shearman
Informal photos by Nicola Evans