England Athletics Volunteer Awards 2020 (South East)

Berkshire was well represented in the England Athletics Volunteer Awards for the South East on 27 Nov 2020.

Tom Presho - Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow - won the Athletics and Running @ Home Award

His nominiators said:

"Tom has been described as a very special and valued coach at WSEH and was praised particularly for the way he helped his athletes deal with the consequences of the pandemic.

At the beginning of the lockdown, Tom was organised and prepared, giving his athletes a list very early on of all the equipment they might need to buy, as he knew suppliers would sell out quickly. He even went so far as to make some equipment himself.

He has made everyone in his group feel motivated to push themselves to the best of their ability during the lockdown, spending his own time working out individual conditioning plans and analysing countless videos to help his athletes improve.

One parent praised the “supportive and welcoming structure and culture” Tom has created in his squad, and also the technical videos and Zoom calls Tom has used to support his athletes during lockdown. Tom puts so much time and hard work into what he does at his club giving constant encouragement and support when people are feeling low. The parent of one athlete describing his choice to work with Tom this year as “the best decision I’ve ever made for my daughter’s sporting development”."

Run Together West Berkshire won the Run Together Group of the Year

Their nominators said:

Starting as a small group five years ago with the ambition to improve people’s lifestyles through activity, WBRT has gone from strength to strength in the years since. A very inclusive group, WBRT has young runners alongside those in their 70s, with members of all age groups supporting each other through conversation and getting to know each other on the runs.

New runners are welcomed and supported by a buddy system of existing members, enabling friendship groups to form so people can be supported and helped when they need it. There is an openness to the group, with members encouraged to bring along family, friends (and even dogs!) to see what the group does.

There is effective liaison with the local council to provide funding and guidance to help promote the group and attract new runners through social media, and the group has expanded tremendously both in terms of membership and in run leaders volunteering. It’s a great success story and shows what can be achieved by volunteers coming together in their community.

Francesca Rowland - Slough Juniors - won the Young Volunteer of the Year Award

Her nominators said:

Francesca joined Slough Junior AC aged 6. She competed for several years in Sportshall, track and field, and also represented her county, Berkshire.

She no longer competes herself but instead is totally committed to supporting the club, its athletes, coaches, and members with the same dedication, infectious  and the “can do, will do, give me the next thing” attitude she had as an athlete.

She combines coaching and officiating with numerous admin and committee roles.  These roles include:

  • Club secretary - Welfare officer - Coach liaison - and Team management

She also leads a multi event-group within the Club and assists with the management of Berkshire Sportshall teams.

Reading the nominations papers about Francesca, I quickly formed the view that every club needs a Francesca. She is clearly a very selfless person who dedicates all her best and considerable efforts to the development of young athletes, driven by the will to help them realise their full potential as athletes and as individual people.

I like this summarising comment from the nomination: “Francesca brings inestimable value to the club through her experience in welfare and mental health issues, ensuring the whole athlete is coached, not just the physical attributes of the athlete. Francesca is a champion of this athlete-centric, holistic approach.”

Andy Hughes - Bracknell AC - was runner up in the Coach of the Year Award


The awards Evening was live streamed on You Tube, watch it here