‘Bedrock’ volunteers earn national prize

EASTERN Counties Rugby Union has continued its fantastic success in the prestigious RFU national awards by picking up another accolade.

Their sterling work in attracting younger volunteers into the game has helped the organisation land one of the annual President’s XV Recognition Awards for the second year running.

The development of a coaching association and a young leaders camp held at Bassingbourn Barracks helped Eastern Counties win the ‘Young Volunteers’ award.

Lee Adamson, rugby development officer, said: “For me, volunteers are the bedrock that the game is built on. We viewed increasing the number of volunteers, as well as improving their experiences, as a priority so we are delighted to get this award.

“Playing and coaching might be the more glamorous side of rugby, but it is the people who give up their time for the benefit of others who deserve this award.”

As part of their prize, Eastern Counties picked up �500 and they are unsurprisingly ploughing the money straight back into their young volunteers - with the cash helping to pay for the second young leaders camp.

Their work will also be featured in a ‘Models of Good practice’ booklet which will be published and distributed throughout the game.

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In addition to congratulating the fantastic volunteers, Adamson paid particular mention to volunteer coordinator Greg Underwood and his support team of Ray Collins (Suffolk), Jimi Matthews (Norfolk) and Steve Brudenell (Cambridgeshire).

And the success continued with Lowestoft & Yarmouth winning the ‘Seal of Approval Club of the Year’ category - ensuring Eastern Counties picked up two of the 15 awards given out.

Jerry Stone, the club’s youth chairman, said: “We have done a lot of work bringing rugby into schools and deprived areas and we are also the first rugby club in the country to run the Duke of Edinburgh awards as an independent provider.

“We try very hard to make rugby accessible and inclusive and we are over the moon that a little club on the east coast has won such a fantastic award.”

Bob Cranna, chairman of Eastern Counties, said: “We are delighted to accept this award and it shows just how important we view our volunteers. I am very proud of the organisation and I also would like to congratulate Lowestoft & Yarmouth as well.”