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Nigel Ellis nominated for Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Yeard award

8 months ago By Bobby Bridge

Manor Park RFC's Development Officer Nigel Ellis has been nominated for the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Yeard awards 2018.

“Please show your support for Ellis, when posting on social media make sure you use the hashtag #VolunteerOfTheYear and tag in @MitsubishiRugby @EnglandRugby so they can spot your posts ”

Across the country there are 42 events taking place celebrating grassroots rugby volunteers and Warwickshire's takes lace on Thursday evening (May 24) at Broadstreet RFC.
One volunteer attending the event will be selected as a Volunteer of the Year finalist for an event taking lace at Twickenham Stadium on Friday, September 7.
Here, club press officer Bobby Bridge explained why he nominated Ellis for the award.

Ellis will likely hate me for laying this bare but rarely does the efforts of one man create such a lasting legacy.

In February 2017, Manor Park RFC lost one of its own, Jamie Styles, in a road traffic collision. He was aged just 28.

Tragedy enough by any stretch, but throw into the mix his partner Emily was eight months pregnant with their child, the heartache becomes suffocating.

Days after the devastating news broke, hundreds of people poured into the Griff and Coton, home of Manor Park RFC, to share their collective grief, to unite.

Standing upon a chair, Ellis hatched a plan, and it was something that gave dozens of people grieving Jamie direction, and his dependants something they desperately needed.

The home the family the couple were due to move into with Jamie's partner's two children and baby Iyla on the way was in a terrible state of disrepair.

An initial collection was held raising more than £1,000 that would go towards renovating the three-bedroom property ahead of the baby's arrival.

The task ahead was massive. Especially for someone with little or no project management background and a full-time job of his own to keep ticking over.

With the support of more than a dozen rugby clubs collectively donating more than £10,000, Ellis commenced with planning an overhaul at the property calling on Manor Park RFC's network of tradesmen to work morning, noon and night to complete the mission with the baby's arrival imminent.

Whether it was skilled electricians, plumbers or plasterers plying their trade or just odd-jobbers slapping on a bit of paint, more than 70 volunteers were coordinated, not coerced, by Ellis.

He took the weight of the project firmly on his shoulders motivated purely by a mantra he shared with me: "If you can help someone less fortunate than you, then you should'.

Simple words. But talk is cheap and it was the actions that spoke a thousand words.

By the time the JS7 project, a title that pays homage to Jamie's shirt number and initials, was complete, the property was unrecognisable.

Every room, hallway, nook, cranny and crevice appeared brand new. The garden, where three children now play freely, was rescue from waist high grass that even bore the surprise find of a kayak!

Without much ceremony, in fact none at all, the keys were handed back to Emily, now with baby Iyla in her arms, to begin the next chapter of her life, free from at least one concern.
The project provided a huge coping mechanism for those feeling Jamie's loss keenly. A place to pour in your energies, a project to concentrate the mind.

This was all made possible by the rugby community. Local clubs such as Nuneaton Old Edwardians, Nuneaton, Coventry Welsh and Atherstone - to name but a few - gave generously.

Rugby players arrived in their droves, whether they knew Jamie or not, to see the project over the line.

However, it needed a calm, steering influence at the helm to ensure momentum and progress was maintained, once the project commenced, there was no going back.

I shared many a phone call with Ellis during this time and it wasn't easy for him, but the motivation was always there. The drive, even when others were driving him insane.

There will no doubt be plenty of worthy winners nominated for this award on Thursday night. People who have poured their heart and soul into their clubs, schemes and projects.

But few, if any, can say they've changed lives through their sheer determination, focus and passion to get a job done during the most difficult time imaginable for a grief-stricken family and their support network.

Ellis, if you win this award or not my friend, you remain a hero to so many for your JS7 endeavours. Thank you.

Please show your support for Ellis, when posting on social media make sure you use the hashtag #VolunteerOfTheYear and tag in @MitsubishiRugby
@EnglandRugby so they can spot your posts

Updated 18:57 - 23 May 2018 by Bobby Bridge

Where next?

Manor Park’s 2018/19 fixtures released Manor Park will kick off their 2018/19 campaign with a short trip to old rivals Pinley.
+++SUMMER TRAINING+++ "It's an early start to get the Manor Park boys back together "

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