Rugby league volunteers scoop key award
Two rugby league grassroots volunteers have received national awards for their hard work and dedication to the sport.
The achievements of Cumbrian Tommy Thomson and Emma King from Wakefield were recognised at the 44th Torch Trophy Trust Annual awards ceremony.
The Torch Trophy Trust is a charitable organisation whose main aim is to encourage voluntary work in sport and other related outdoor activities within local communities throughout the UK.
Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex presented the awards at the event, which was staged in London late last week.
Thomson is a key contributor to the Copeland Stadium Trust, which maintains and develops the venue of the same name.
The overall aim is to support the development of community rugby league in Cumbria and in his role as trustee, Thomson has raised funds to keep the stadium fully operational, including obtaining more than ¬£1million pounds in grants from local authorities, the RFL Community Club Development Programme, the North West Development Agency and other sources.
The stadium also caters for all sports and coaching courses and is open to the whole of the community.
RFL director of development Gary Tasker said: ‚"We would like to congratulate both Tommy and Emma on their awards. Their work as volunteers at rugby league's grassroots is tremendously valuable and they have each contributed so much to their local communities and will continue to do so.
‚"Tommy and Emma are examples of the many thousands of volunteers without whom the sport would not function as well as it does at community level and they are a shining example to many people.‚"
Thomson has also developed coaches in the Copeland area for more than 20 years; he is a qualified coach educator under the RFL's Coach Education programme and was assistant coach to BARLA.
The Copeland Stadium will be a legacy for the next 20 years thanks to Thomson's leadership and dedication. The stadium re-opened last month, when a BARLA Under-18 team played the touring Australian Schoolboys.
King - who also won the RFL's 2006 National Volunteer Award for 'Youth Volunteer of the Year' - has been coach of the Wakefield-based Stanley Rangers Under-8 side for the past three seasons.
In that time, she has introduced more than 80 children to the game of rugby league, ensuring all youngsters are given the appropriate grounding in basic skills.
Club staff speak of how King has endless patience with her players and each one is treated as an individual and is given the opportunity to develop.
Despite also studying for a degree and playing rugby league herself, Emma always has time for her team, taking training twice a week and attending matches. She also organises trips out, thereby building a strong team spirit.
As well as coaching, King acts as junior secretary and played a big part in the club attaining 'Clubmark' status. She is also a member of the club committee and the club representative at Yorkshire Junior League meetings.