The awards are part of the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme which provides grassroots rugby clubs and the rugby community with opportunities to recognise and reward the volunteers who make up such an integral part of the game.
This year the club has nominated Jason Hocking, Stan Garner, Mary Ryder and Duncan Cowley in appreciation of their efforts to keep Helsby RUFC alive and kicking week-after-week, year-after-year.
Jason is currently the club's Vice-Chairman and has been an active member of Helsby RUFC for more than a decade. As a community grass-roots club, our committee consists of a small, core group who fulfil many different roles, however, in Jason’s case he has taken this to an extreme. In addition to being an active playing member, Jason is a coach of the club’s U9’s team, is effectively the club’s Senior kit-man, and also manages all kit, equipment and merchandising procurement for the club not to mention collecting match-day subs. Without him, Helsby RUFC simply would not function.
Stan’s association with Helsby RUFC dates back more than twenty years as a player and volunteer. Currently, whilst fulfilling the role of groundsman – maintaining the club’s two pitches and pitchside facilities - Stan also acts as Match Secretary and provides refereeing support to the club’s Junior section. In recent seasons, Stan has additionally volunteered as a coach, representing the club in helping to deliver its School’s programme in local Helsby High School and previously has also served as Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer to the club for a number of seasons.
Mary has been a match-day volunteer at Helsby RUFC for more than thirty years – faithfully and single-handedly cooking post-match meals for the club’s 1st and 2nd Teams, week-in and week-out and thereby ensuring that one of rugby’s great traditions continues into the modern era. Mary is the wife of club stalwart and former Club Captain, Tony Ryder and between them they’ve ensured that the Ryder family ties with Helsby RUFC are being passed down to the next generation, with three of the couple’s children having gone on to represent the club’s 1st Team.
Duncan is a local resident and amateur photographer, who prior to 2015 had no interest or involvement with Rugby. Since then though, he has been an ever-present at the club’s matches – establishing himself as official Club Photographer and Press Officer and working tirelessly to promote the club’s Senior and Junior sections alike. Few grassroots clubs are fortunate enough to have such a committed volunteer with the skills that Duncan brings and the effect of his publicity campaigns on the club’s playing membership has been huge - the club benefiting from a 50% increase in Senior playing members over this period.
Helsby's Fab Four are amongst hundreds of specially selected volunteers who will be invited to attend a drinks reception event held at Mitsubishi Motors dealerships or rugby clubs in various locations throughout England. One finalist from each event will then we invited to the awards evening at Twickenham Stadium on Friday, 7 September where the overall winners will be announced.
Three overall winners will be announced on the evening and each one will receive a Mitsubishi car for a year as a thank you for their continued support of the game. “Volunteers are such a vital part of the game. The amount of work that they put in to the day-to-day running of their clubs is invaluable and these awards give us the opportunity to recognise the hard work they do" Lance Bradley, Mitsubishi Motors Managing Director.
Updated 19:24 - 20 Sep 2018 by Andrew Wilson