Volunteer sporting heroes were honoured at the Devon Sports Awards, which recognises the dedication and commitment of the many coaches, volunteers and officials involved in sport that often goes unnoticed.
International cricketer Caroline Atkins presented the awards on the evening, Caroline’s full senior career came into flourish during 2008 scoring her maiden one day hundred against South Africa at Lord’s. Caroline played a big part in England’s victorious World Cup campaign with three half-centuries and two century-stands with Claire and Sarah Taylor. Caroline is now part of the Devon Cricket Board and recently starting work in Devon as a Chance to Shine ambassador.
The biggest award of the evening, Outstanding Contribution to Sport in Devon went to Brian Worts. The award is given to honour an individual who, through their hard work and dedication, has made a real difference to their sport and club, not only in 2010 but for many years.
Brian has been involved in table tennis for over 50 years in a variety of roles such as coach, club organiser, club development officer, county competition organiser, mentor. He has overseen the development of the Exe Table Tennis Club for the last 30 years and has been at the heart of table tennis development in Exmouth. He organises competitions, junior leagues, coaching days and after school clubs to provide local young people with opportunities to play table tennis in addition to applying for grant funding, arranging equipment, venues and transport.
This year’s winners were:
Young Coach of the Year
Rhiannon Lawrence – Salle Lawrence Fencing Club
At only 22, Rhiannon has achieved a lot in her chosen field of fencing. After seven years of competing internationally for Great Britain, Rhiannon decided to give something back to the sport by setting up her own fencing club in Plymouth in 2009. Through determination and drive she set up the Salle Lawrence fencing club, all while studying for a postgraduate degree. After suffering a near fatal car accident in April 2009, which left her in a coma for three weeks, Rhiannon focused on the development of the club to aid her physical recovery. She was able to return to coaching long before the doctors thought possible. Later in the year one of her fencers qualified for the U17 European Championships and two fencers for the finals of BUCS in November 2009. Rhiannon is a motivated and enthusiastic young woman whose ambition is to open up the sport of fencing to everyone. She is now working in three Primary schools in Plymouth and opening up the sport to a whole new audience.
Coach of the Year – Female
Colleen Devincenzi – Teignbridge Ladies Hockey Club
Colleen has been coaching Teignmouth Ladies Hockey Club senior teams since 2005 and is now their head coach. In 2009 Colleen took the 1st XI team to brand new heights by developing the senior players and creating a formidable team dynamic. As a result the club won the 2008/09 South Division league gaining promoting to the Premier 2 division. They completed the double by winning the Devon Cup in the same year. Players are very proud of the club and its achievements as it has put Teignmouth on the map. The club has also achieved Clubmark which again is largely due to Colleen and her development of the coaching programme. Her success was capped by Teignmouth Hockey Club winning Senior team of The Year 2009 at the Teignbridge Sports Personality of the Year Awards. Colleen is a very talented head coach with a bright future in Hockey.
Coach of the Year – Male
Robert Moore – Exeter Triathlon Club
Robert has been involved in triathlon for over 10 years, starting as a competitor then working as a coach achieving his Level 3 – the highest qualification in the sport. During the past year, Robert has been instrumental in the Exeter Triathlon Club achieving club and star mark status through developments made to the coaching system and mentoring of young coaches. In 2009 Robert achieved both the South West Regional Coach of the Year and National Coach of the Year for British Triathlon. This is down to the work he has done at grass roots level to increase participation through developing a thriving junior section and also as a performance coach with several of his athletes travelling to the European Championships in Holten. Robert has shown a high level of commitment to the club and has inspired other club members to join the coaching pathway. Through Robert’s proactive, enthusiastic and professional approach athletes and coaches are able to discover their true potential
Coach of Disabled Performers
Sharon Hawkins – Devon Racqueteers Wheelchair Badminton Club
Sharon has been involved with badminton for 25 years and currently coaches at Devon Racqueteers Wheelchair Badminton Club. She has coached participants with a range of disability, 5 of which have represented England at the Four Nations Disabled Championships winning 1 gold and three silver medals. Sharon’s coaching methods are inspirational and her devotion to each individual is truly remarkable. Sharon is the backbone of a hugely progressive club, recently being awarded Sport England funding. This is in no small part thanks to the dedication of Sharon and her coaching team.
Official of the Year
Monica Bristow – Erme Valley Harriers
Monica has been involved in athletics for 28 years as an athlete, club officer, and official. She officiates at all levels from club, county, regional through to national standard. This year Monica has been appointed to the UK Athletics National list of officials following an intensive year of assessment and training. This has involved working with experienced national officials at events all over the UK and has meant Monica giving up a lot of personal time undergoing study and mentoring. This has not stopped her from helping out at local meetings nearly every weekend! Monica’s goal now is to work as an official in the 2012 Olympics and she is well on the way to achieving this, despite having to overcome personal tragedy along the way. Monica is hardworking and an inspiration for other to succeed in their own sport.
Performance Coach of the Year
Gyorgy Felletar – Fencing
Gyorgy coaches many pentathletes in Devon as well as having numerous national commitments in the sport of Fencing. Gyorgy coaches for the British Disabled Fencing Association and the GB British Wheelchair Fencing Team. Gyorgy has coached three of his top four fencers in the county to represent Great Britain. He has had many successes in 2009 including an U18 British Youth Champion an U20 British Junior Champion and several fencers taking part in European and World Championships. He mentors other coaches in the sport locally who have gone on to set up new clubs in Tiverton and Exeter whilst also working with Exeter School, Exeter University and Crediton Fencing Club. Gyorgy has also begun coaching Wheelchair Fencing locally in Exeter and is committed to growing the sport in the county.
Young Volunteer of the Year
Charlotte Broadhead – Petroc (NDC), Bideford Bouncers, Titans Netball Club, Langtree Netball Club
At 17 years of age, Charlotte has already gained umpiring qualifications in netball as well as coaching qualifications for trampolining. Charlotte divides her time between the two sports volunteering for North Devon College, Bideford Bouncers, Titans Netball Club and Langtree Netball Club, among others. In 2009 Charlotte achieved the Step Into Sport Gold Award having accrued over 300 volunteering hours through both school and community volunteering. She was also selected to attend the England Netball Young Leaders Camp and officiated at the British Colleges Sport (BCS) Regional and National Championships. Charlotte’s volunteering and associated achievements have had a positive impact on a range of organisations and individuals in both schools and the local community.
Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by South West Water)
Brian Worts – Exmouth Community College (Exe Table Tennis Club)
Brian has been involved in table tennis for over 50 years in a variety of roles such as coach, club organiser, club development officer, county competition organiser, mentor etc. He has overseen the development of the Exe Table Tennis Club for the last 30 years and has been at the heart of table tennis development in Exmouth. Brian organises competitions, junior leagues, coaching days and after school clubs to provide local young people with opportunities to play table tennis. He also applies for grant funding and arranges tables, equipment, halls and transport. Brian is currently involved with helping the club work towards ClubMark and as a result of all Brian’s efforts, the club has seen its membership rise dramatically in 2009 to over 80 members. Many players young and not so young owe their introduction to table tennis to Brian. He has been nominated for this award by the local school sports partnership, the ETTA Regional Officer and members from the club, a significant achievement alone.