Grassroots athletics volunteers receive King's Birthday Honours

As well as the England Athletics Chair Gary Shaughnessy receiving a CBE for his charity work, three English athletics volunteers were also honoured. Malcolm Rogers receives a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to the sport spanning more than 50 years. And there's a British Empire Medal (BEM) for two athletics stalwarts - Bryan Smith and Paul Sanderson.

Malcolm Rogers

Malcolm was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to the sport spanning more than 50 years.

Malcolm started his career in athletics as a school PE teacher and took on a wider role within Sheffield Schools athletics. He retired as a teacher in 2011 but continued his volunteering in our sport.

He is still an ever-present fixture at major athletics events in the UK and has not missed an event since 2002 - that includes World and European Championships and Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games, in a role of Competition Administration Manager or Athletics Competition Director. He has also been a pioneer for equality, diversity and inclusion in the sport and helped to introduce para athletics into mainstream events.

Malcolm served as the National Officials' Secretary for almost 20 years, was a European Area Technical Official (ATO) for 22 years and a member of the UK Athletics Technical Advisory group (TAG) since 2004. He's also an officials' tutor for Level 1 and Level 4 courses.

I was surprised and very humbled. It may have been me thats been honoured but the people who really deserve this are the heroes of athletics - those people who go out and run things at club level on wet Wednesday nights.

Paul Sanderson BEM

Paul received a BEM for services to Athletics and to the community in Telford and The Wrekin, Shropshire.

In 1975 - along with other local teachers - he started Telford competitions for primary and secondary schools at cross country and athletics. The following year they founded Telford Athletic Club. Paul was the secretary and remained in that position for 44 years. He told us,

There was no permanent athletics track in Telford and as a club we worked hard to raise funds and worked with the local council and Shropshire County Council to generate grants which saw the Telford Stadium built and a few years later host the English Schools' Track and Field Championships.

Paul was also an active distance runner and especially enjoyed fell running and started several Shropshire Fell races which are still going today.

I took part in the first London Marathon in 1981 and was delighted to finish in 2 hours 28 minutes just outside the first 100. Although knee injuries have now stopped me running, I did enjoy 55 years of running starting at secondary school. 

Paul remains active in the sport as secretary of Shropshire Schools' AA (he was appointed in 1977!), as well as helping Telford AC as a helper at several road and fell races, as well as helping at local track and field meetings. He finished off by telling us,

"I also enjoy watching all sport and remain a season ticket holder at Burnley Football Club and looking forward to watching them in the Premier League this season."

In 2020 he was awarded the England Athletics West Midlands Region and went on to win the National 'Services to Athletics' volunteer award.

Bryan Smith BEM

84-year-old Bryan Smith received a BEM for services to athletics.

He's a Life member of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers where he was President from 1971 to 1974, stints as Secretary 1963-1967, 1974-1975, and 1987-1988, was a Welfare Officer for the Club, the women's athletics statistician - and continues to be a Club Officer. His volunteering within our sport has covered many other areas: he's a Level 4 endurance official, a Level 2 Field and Track official, a performance middle distance coach, a Level 3 Sprints coach and a Level 2 endurance coach - mostly coaching at the then Barnet Copthall stadium (now StoneX stadium). He is also the club's women's athletics statistician.

Beyond the club, Bryan was involved in the organisation of Athletics at Middlesex, Southern Counties and National levels for both schools and clubs. He was on the SEAA General committee from 1991 to 2005, and responsible for Endurance Competition when he became a Director at the formation of UKA in 1998.

Bryan has coached many club and international athletes including his wife Joyce - the 2 times London Marathon winner. He acted as Race referee for many regional and national events, including as Director of the London Marathon - involved in organising the annual Mini Marathon.

Bryan won the England Athletics London Region 'Services to Athletics' volunteer award in 2017. We asked him what his reaction was to receiving the King's Birthday Honour and he told us,

"The award in the King's birthday honours was a pleasant surprise."

He added,

"My old school motto was 'Rather of use than fame' which I think applies to all those involved in coaching, officiating, and administration of athletics."