Volunteers recognised at British Rowing Awards

[newsimage=0]On Saturday 19 November, volunteers, coaches and club officials from across the country gathered in London for the 2011 British Rowing Volunteer Awards.

Volunteers from the British Rowing regions were recognised at an awards lunch held at the historic Watermen’s Hall, central London.

There were also five awards for Coach of the Year, alongside an inaugural Water Safety Award.

‘Today is all about you,’ British Rowing Chairman Di Ellis told the assembled award-winners ahead of the lunch and prize-giving ceremony. ‘It’s about you, and our thanks for everything you do within our sport.

‘To pick out a few words from the citations for your awards which, for me, show what this sport is all about: “amazing inspiration”, “gives us confidence”, “the critical friend”, “played a crucial role”. We all know that crucial role. It’s the person who welcomed us to the club, who then followed that up and made sure we were alright when we came down to row. The person who made sure that we feel like a part of the club.

[newsimage=1]‘We’re here today to recognise all of you, who have given so much to our sport – from the very young to the people who have put more than 50 years into our sport. My thanks to you all.’

Volunteers receiving awards included Sally Lawrence (Lea RC), Peter Burdess (Durham ARC), Ken Ball and Derek Chandler (Trafford RC), Sue Eggeman (Walbrook RC), Ashley Hewitt (Nottingham RC), Kieran Barnes (Hull University BC), Angela Craig (Bewl Bridge RC), Jeanette Mueller (Minerva Bath RC), Alastair Barr (Castledore RC and WEARA) and Christopher Best (Stratford-upon-Avon BC).

Citations for the award-winners ranged from keeping people involved in and enjoying our sport, to being simply indispensible to the very existence of their club.

Lea RC’s Sally Lawrence was described as ‘the heart of the club’ in her citation, while Bewl Bridge’s Angela Craig was hailed as ‘an exceptionally good ambassador for the sport, and just the type of role model we need in rowing.’

Christopher Best, meanwhile, was described as having ‘made a huge contribution to the creation of a great club spirit and environment that is enjoyed by all rowers, coaches, and volunteers.’

[newsimage=2]These are just a handful of the many, many compliments paid to this year’s winners by their respective clubs, and the thanks of British Rowing and the entire rowing community go out to every single volunteer within our sport.

‘At all points in my career, there have been volunteers that have had a huge impact on what I’ve done,’ said guest speaker Rosie Mayglothling – Olympian, FISA Commissioner, founder of Henley Women’s Regatta, and British Rowing Technical Co-ordinator.

‘Whether you’re a coach, a water safety officer, or a club organiser – you are a volunteer, and you are a very special person.’

Saturday’s ceremony also saw British Rowing’s Coaches of the Year recognised for their remarkable achievements in our sport.

Tyne RC’s Amy Ward, Colin Percy, David Robinson, and John Mulholland were named Coaching Team of the Year, while Jon Rooney (Oxford University Women’s BC), Caroline Turnbull (Weyfarers Rowing Club), Howard Marsh (Leicester RC and Loughborough Students RC), and Barrie Hanley (Cambois RC) also picked up awards for their contribution to rowing.

The final award of the day was the Water Safety Award – the very first time that British Rowing has recognised a water safety official in this way – which went to Thames Tradesmen RC’s Bill Mitchell.

[newsimage=3]Leader of the group responsible for drawing up the Tideway Navigation Code, Bill ensured that the code met the highest sensible standards whilst including adequate self-regulation to ensure compliance.

He has been the driving force behind the revolution in safety on the Tideway in recent years, and used the occasion to point out the crucial role that friends and family play in the lives of rowing volunteers.

’For many years, I’ve had a wonderful time and enjoyed myself in everything I’ve done in rowing,’ he said, after receiving his award. ‘And at the back is a supporter – that everybody in this room has.

‘Someone doing the washing up, looking after the kids, while we go out and enjoy ourselves. To me, this is for my wife, who has allowed me to go out and have fun for 40-odd years.’

British Rowing would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners of the 2011 Volunteer and Coach of the Year Awards.

For individual pictures of the award presentations, click the recipient’s name. Photos © Gerard Brown.