Volunteer Award 2010 winners

Volunteer Award 2010 winners

Awards image 1The annual England Athletics National Awards programme sees volunteers from across the country recognised for their contributions in supporting the development of the sport.

These people play a vitally important role in the provision and success of athletics in England and the awards programme we run gives recognition of this fact and allows for some of those who have made outstanding contributions to our sport to be officially recognised for their work.

The England Athletics National Awards programme sees many volunteers from across the country recognised for their contributions in supporting the development of the sport.

There are eleven categories of award, at both regional and national level.  These recognise the work of clubs, volunteers, officials and coaches, as well as the areas of partnership and disability athletics.  They reward contributions and commitment to our sport over the past 12-month period, with a more limited number of lifetime service awards.

2010 Regional Award winners; click on the region heading to find out more:
North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, South West, East, South East, London

2010 National Award Winners

Official of the Year: Peter Lee
Official of the Year Peter LeeDuring this time of change for officials, as Herts County Officials Secretary, Peter has been excellent at keeping officials updated both by face to face and electronic communication.  He has provided support, tutored new courses, and generally provided a source of advice and encouragement to officials of all levels of experience.  Peter is always willing to share his knowledge with others in the sport.

He is an excellent role model for officials especially in the technical room or at the EDM where he is always happy to share hints and tips.  Peter helped set up an EDM rental business which meant that Herts officials were conversant with the technology a long time before many other Counties.

Peter is happy to write reports on developing officials and give good service at events!  He can be seen officiating at all levels of competition from local schools matches to UK events.

Run in England Leader of the Year:  Amanda Thirsk
Run in England Leader of the Year: Amanda ThirskA keen and relatively new runner, Amanda had been coaching children for a couple of years at Rochdale Harriers and AC when she heard about the Leadership in Running Fitness course.  After qualifying as a leader in January 2010, Amanda started planning and preparing for her first 10-week beginner programme in February 2010. She set up three more in April, July and September. After the February course, the new runners also formed another group on the same evening to cater for improvers.

Amanda has shown commitment to her groups and excellent leadership – always patient, friendly and understanding, well-prepared and organized. Her enthusiasm is clearly infectious – the number of runners on her first course rose from seven to 19 during the 10 weeks and the second course filled with 20 runners immediately.  Amanda’s warm, approachable and supportive nature coupled with a “can do” attitude makes her the perfect example of what a Run in England leaders should be – a real inspiration.

Run in England Project of the Year:  Katharine Jones and Hampshire County Council
Run in England Project of the Year: Katharine JonesKatharine Jones works tirelessly as the Run in England county activator for Hampshire. Since throwing herself into the role she has overcome several barriers to engaging Hampshire with Run in England.  With the financial support of Hampshire County Council, Katharine has been able to dedicate 16 hours a week to this project.

From a blank sheet, she has recruited 41 leaders, which has led to 240 members over several groups. Not only has she engaged with the community but also local parks and initiatives to launch 3-2-1 routes. One particular initiative combines working with the walking for health team in Gosport to share routes and signs at Alver Valley. The routes and groups had a launch date at the end of September, with exciting times ahead.

Katharine has also linked with several clubs in the area which has lead to successful partnerships between them and Run in England; Eastleigh and Totton running clubs being a couple of examples. Locally Katharine has linked in with events such as parkrun and provided support to launch training groups for them. She is also leading a group for the Cancer Research UK Run10K partnership. Whilst providing support to all her leaders, Katherine leads her own running groups, back to back on some days! She provides an excellent role model to all leaders, giving true heart felt support every step of the way.

Development Club of the Year: Holmfirth Harriers AC
Development Club of the Year: Holmfirth Harriers ACHolmfirth Harriers have gone from strength-to-strength over the past decade. The club’s membership has increased from under 200 with less than 50 being junior members to over 700 with more than 50% being junior members.  This has been achieved by going back to basics by promoting athletics in schools with qualified coaches from the club delivering these sessions. The club has been recognised for this work as it was voted PE School to Club Link Club of the Year last year. In addition it puts on a number of events throughout the year to increase participant and awareness of athletics.

Holmfirth Harriers has links with Local Neighbourhood Policing resulting in people who are disadvantaged or on verge of Anti-Social Behaviour referred to club with funding obtained to support these.  Coaches from the club also coach disabled athletes, in particular those who are blind and partially sighted at the Huddersfield Actionairres with some of these athletes joining the mainstream club.  Holmfirth Harriers is now part of the Calderdale McCain Athletics Network and this enables coaches and volunteers to access additional courses on nutrition, biomechanics and other Masterclasses.

In the year before its nomination the club held:

  • Four Aviva StarTrack schemes with over 200 participants.
  • A series of three junior schools cross country races with over 1000 registering and 750+ completing all three races from 38 schools with other schools on waiting list.
  • A Fun in Athletics introduction to Sportshall Athletics. This is now in its 20th year and fully subscribed.
  • Coaching sessions in a number of schools and areas to introduce young people to athletics drawing in members from over 40 junior schools and 15 senior schools.
  • A structured introduction to the club with young athletes being offered three taster sessions before joining.

To increase volunteer and coaching within the club the parents/guardians and young athletes are encouraged to become involved. The club pays for the courses in return for commitment to assist with the clubs work including officiating and Run in England groups.  Athletes at the age of 16 are given the opportunity to start coaching/volunteering to give them greater interest in club than just being an athlete, and this has been successful in aiding the retention of older juniors.  The club now has more than 50 qualified coaches who are active within the club from Leadership in Running fitness qualified group leaders and Assistant Coaches upwards.
Club Partnership of the Year:  Derbyshire McCain Athletics Network & Derby University
Club Partnership of the Year: Derbyshire McCain Athletics Network & Derby UniversityThis is a partnership between the Derbyshire McCain Athletics Network and Derby University covering both the City and Buxton campuses. The Network have worked hard to develop a new and long lasting partnership with Derby University. Through months of negotiation and perseverance the several aspects of partnership working were agreed and implemented.

Students that are studying in the their second year on the Sports Development and Sport Science degree programmes now have to conduct a series of partnership projects with a local partner. The Derbyshire Athletics Network is now the principal partner for the university and will enjoy the positive of project management students conducting work within the network such as, event management, income generation and coach development.  Alongside their projects the students will conduct volunteer hours as part of their course – this means an extra five students will be volunteering each week (during university term time) in each club.

Support for coaches in the Network is also being provided. For a minimal service level agreement cost the university will offer their gym, sport science and sports facilities for free. They will also support network coach development events with workshop delivery in areas such as, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and biomechanics. The agreement also states that the university will offer physiotherapy support for athletes at specified events and club sessions for all clubs within the network.  This partnership with the university is designed to be both long lasting and sustainable.

Development Coach of the Year (coaches working mainly in the club and community environment): Phil Sergeant, Chelmsford AC
Development Coach of the Year: Phil SergeantPhil has been a committed member of the coaching team at Chelmsford AC for over 10 years.  He has been fully involved in the England Athletics Local Coach Development Programme since it was launched in October 2009.  He provides mentoring and technical support to two coaches at the club and has developed his own skills in becoming a Level 3 coach in Long Jump and High Jump in the last year. He is a key member of coaching team that helped Chelmsford win eight individual events at the Aviva English Schools Championships this year – they also had 17 athletes in the 60 person Essex team.

Phil currently works with a group of athletes that includes those who have competed at English Schools level as well as working to develop numerous other young athletes.  Phil provides coaching sessions at St John Payne School in Chelmsford on a regular basis and ensures athletes have the opportunity to receive further coaching at the club.  His support has helped Chelmsford County High School for Girls to secure Two Schools Cup titles.  Phil has also been involved in the formation of the Essex Athletics Network.

Performance Coach of the Year (coaches working mainly with athletes and coaches to a national or international standard):   Ron Roddan, Thames Valley Harriers
Performance Coach of the Year: Ron RoddanRon, a former Civil Service laboratory assistant, was involved in athletics as a sprinter in the Fifties and Sixties. Since then his life has remained athletics.

Ron has now been coaching at Thames Valley Harriers for 50 years. He is the kind of man who makes athletics tick, unpaid and unsung. A straight-talking but quiet man, who over the years has dedicated his life to helping young athletes be the best they can be.  Ron currently coaches athletes including Toby Sandeman – the 2009 Aviva World Trials & National Championships 200m champion and Aviva England Athletics Under 23 Championships 200m champion.  He has famously worked with Olympic medallist Linford Christie as well as Darren Campbell and Katharine Merry. He has also had input with athletes including Input with Frankie Fredericks, Bruny Surin, Joice Maduaka and Jamie Baulch.

Plus there are hundreds of young athletes spanning 50 years at TVH. Whatever age or level, Ron just continues to love to coach giving many athletes the believe and coaching to be the best they can be.  He has always put as much time into coaching, at all levels, as possible.  He never gives up sharing his coaching knowledge and passion. He is always happy and willing to teach athletes and coaches alike.

Services to Coaching:  Bob Parker
Services to Coaching: Bob ParkerBob is now 80 years old. He has been coaching for over 50 years and turns up, day-in day-out in all weathers to coach kids of all ages and every standard, as well as working with world-class athletes.  Bob’s extensive coaching career has seen him coaching a world record holder in Dave Bedford as well as one of Britain’s leading athletes today, Mara Yamauchi. But he still enjoys his work with young athletes, even if they are of far more modest abilities.  Bob has recovered from serious illness and still continues to spend his time coaching.  He's an inspiration figure to all that know him and a great example of what true “old school” coaches were all about.

Young Volunteer of the Year (Aged Under 25): Mike Frost, DASH AC
At the age of 21 Mike operates as club secretary, sits on local and Regional Athletics committees and does much more.  He is involved with local, regional and national Sportshall competitions and after-school events, and organises Saturday Sportshall training each week. Once again this year Mike organised the Annual Quadrathlon competition at Sportcity, Manchester. This attracted more than 150 athletes from a wide area. While studying at Leeds Carnegie he still managed to do lots of club work as well as organising competitions for local secondary schools in Leeds.  He was a key figure in DASH AC successfully obtaining Clubmark accreditation.  He places an emphasis on Long Term Athlete Development in all training sessions, and has been one of the first to sign up to using the Athletics 365 syllabus and resources.

Mike's efforts are tireless - he show commitment, organisational capability and passion for the development of athletics that is massive for someone of such a young age. His interaction with everybody from the youngest athletes to the most senior members of council bodies is impeccable.  If it was not for his efforts there would be a huge gap in the locality for provision of athletics for younger children. His long term strategy is very clear - and it is all about developing athletics for all and not about ego.

With Mike’s efforts DASH AC has produced a financially stable and really forward thinking club - everything from green initiatives to coach development comes under Mike’s leadership.
Services To Volunteering (Aged 25 plus): Neil Costello, Cambridge and Coleridge AC
Services To Volunteering: Neil CostelloNeil contributes a huge amount of time to athletics as a volunteer through a number of roles at club, county, network, regional and national level.  He joined Cambridge and Coleridge in 1985 and has been a member for 25 years. He continues to compete occasionally as an endurance athlete but contributes massively to the club as chairman - a position he has held since 1998. He was secretary for three years prior to that.  Under Neil's management the club has seen huge change and has expanded its membership from 150 to over 500 today.

He is a coach with the junior section of the club and spearheaded the club's move to a multi-skill approach for young people, which is used as a national example of good practice.  Neil also oversaw the creation of four satellite groups for young people making the sport more accessible to youngsters across South Cambridgeshire.

Neil led on the creation of the Greater Cambridge McCain Athletics Network which secured funding as a pilot in Phase One of the ‘Networks’ scheme. Previously he represented his club on the Cambridgeshire Development Group. He is a Regional Councillor with the important Clubs Portfolio, and has worked tirelessly with the Regional and Area team to ensure that his knowledge and expertise is shared with others who would benefit. He has put huge energies into organising Club conferences to help share good practice.  He sits on the National Clubs group where he continues to provide thoughtful and honest feedback on new schemes such as Athletics 365 and the Networks programme. He is also a scorer at Track and Field events.

Services To Officiating: Chris Cohen, CBE
Chris is a Level 5 Field Judge refereeing National, International meetings and local meetings at all standards.  Chris has been the Chair of the International Paralympic Committee's Technical Committee influencing the IPCs Rules for Competition. He has lead seminars and instructed Disability Athletics Officials around the world. He has supervised Disability events at the World Championships and Olympic Games since the 1990s.  In 2008 Chris chaired the Jury of Appeal for the Paralympics in Beijing. He is a European ATO overseeing all standard of events throughout Europe including the 2009 European Youth Championships in Tampere, Finland.

He is member of the UKA Technical Committee and Chairs the Education Group and has been a leading light in the development of the new officiating system. He is an officials tutor and is frequently asked to mentor many young, up-and-coming officials.

Aside from his Officiating responsibilities Chris is a retired PE teacher and the former Secretary of Derbyshire Schools. He has organised English Schools Championships within Derbyshire and the Schools International Cross Country in 2002. He has been the Chair of English Schools AA, is a Vice President and a member of the General Committee.

Services to Disability Athletics: Ian Thompson
Ian is someone who is a champion of inclusivity in athletics and is known for his hard work towards the integration of disability athletics into clubs and coaching groups across the country.  His hard work in trying to ensure the challenges surrounding inclusivity are met and addressed is much appreciated across the sport.

Ian holds numerous positions within the sport. He is chair of British Wheelchair Racing, a member of the regional council, and holds the portfolio for disability at national level.  As well as this work Ian has also been successful as a coach. He worked with his wife Tanni, who is well recognised as one of Britain’s most successful Paralympians and is an inductee in the Welsh Athletics Hall of Fame, and the two also now coach athletes together. Their partnership has included coaching athletes to successful performances at this year’s IWAS World Juniors.  Ian, as well as his wife Tanni, are both highly respected members of the athletics community, and their role and leadership in sport in general are also coveted by wider sporting communities.

Services to Athletics: Vera Duerdin
Services to Athletics: Vera DuerdinVera has offered more than 50 years of service to athletes, coaches, parents and volunteers in athletics.  The work that she is still involved with includes the Cheshire Track and Field League, Greater Manchester AA and she is Relay Championship Secretary for the ECCA.

During her time in the sport she has travelled the world including as a manager of the international cross country team. She's been acknowledged in a book called My Story So Far by a certain Paula Radcliffe!  She very rarely misses a training sessions at Bury AC and is always thinking of new ways to encourage young children into athletics and developing new initiatives at the track.

Vera is heavily involved in the northern and Greater Manchester regions she helps organise the Greater Manchester teams for both track & field and cross country and is also involved in many committees across the north of England.


Photos by Mark Shearman