In 2020, Paul Sanderson, from Telford AC, was the West Midlands Services to Athletics and Running winner at the England Athletics Regional Volunteer Awards. He went on to receive a national award for his contributions to the sport. And just last week he received a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the King's Birthday Honours for his services to sport!
Read Pauls's story and maybe you know of a long-serving volubteer in the sport who deserves recognition? You can nominate online until 26 July and the links are at the bottom of this page.
What did winning the Volunteer Awards mean to you?
I felt very proud and it was special to be acknowledged by England Athletics. Being appreciated by the sport you are involved in made it more important for me. Telford AC were really pleased for me, and I was congratulated by many club members. Stuart Paul, the West Midlands regional council chair, came and presented the award to me.
I then went on to win the national award and Jenny Meadows talking about my contribution to the sport and the community was another proud moment.
Has winning the Regional Volunteer Awards inspired you to become further involved in athletics?
I have felt inspired since winning the award and it has made me reflect on my involvement in the sport.
Over the years I have had a range of voluntary roles, and these have included organising events, officiating and coaching.
In 1975 - along with other local teachers - Paul started Telford-based competitions for local schools . The following year they founded Telford Athletic Club. Two decades late - since there was no permanent athletics track in Telford - the club raised funds and applied for grants which saw the Telford Stadium built. 2020 saw a major refurbishment of the track.
My greatest sense of achievement has been seeing the journey of Telford AC and the development of the track in the area!
Why do you think the Regional Volunteer Awards are important?
The awards are important as they recognise the contribution of volunteers.
Read the full case study in the Reward and Recognition section of our Club Hub
Without volunteers we wouldn’t have a sport, and everything starts at grassroots, so it is nice that those involved in making the sport happen are acknowledged.
Volunteers are the backbone of races, training, competitions and club events.