‘Unsung hero’ honoured by volunteer award

RUGBY stalwart Gregory Underwood has spoken of his delight after he received a prestigious award in recognition of his 50 years voluntary service to the game.

The Sudbury Rugby Club president was one of a number of sporting volunteers who picked up a Torch Trophy Trust Award from the Duke of Gloucester at a lavish ceremony in London.

Volunteering at his local side since he was 16, Underwood is now the volunteer coordinator for Eastern Counties Rugby Union.

Underwood, 65, said: “I feel very humble being honoured in this way - it just hasn’t sunk in. I never expected anything like this in my wildest dreams.

“When I received the notification, it was only when I saw the words ‘Your Highness, the Duke of Gloucester’ that the penny dropped. Then it just all fell into place.”

In addition to the Royal presence, former England rugby captain Roger Uttley and football great Sir Bobby Charlton were also guests at the prizegiving ceremony in Pall Mall.

Underwood added: “The experience will live with me for the rest of my days.”

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Tim McNeil, president of ECRU, said: “Greg has always been an unsung hero of Eastern Counties rugby. For 40 years he has been prepared to do the donkey work and the dirty work without recognition. We are delighted at him receiving this award.”

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