Adrian Bawden, the driving force behind Bredon Star’s clubhouse project, was named Volunteer of the Year at the North Midlands RFU Volunteer Reward and Recognition Evening.
The ceremony, which was held at the Pear Tree Hotel at Smite near Worcester, recognised the outstanding and valuable contribution made to rugby clubs across North Midlands by the dedicated team of volunteers who give up their time to underpin the county’s rugby clubs.
Bawden typified that commitment. He has been Bredon’s treasurer for seven years and project managed the clubhouse development which gave the Worcestershire club their first permanent home in 25 years.
His efforts had already been recognised by Bredon Star who voted him both Senior and Junior Clubman of the Year.
Bredon Star’s clubhouse development also scooped the Innovation Award, one of two new awards presented this year.
The clubhouse cost £215,000, £70,000 of which came from the RFU, and has already turned over £42,000 in the seven months since it opened.
The other new award, Volunteer Team of the Year, went to Dudley Kingswinford’s Ground Works Team, a group of half-a-dozen recently retired men who gather each Tuesday and Thursday morning to carry out importance maintenance tasks around the Heathbrook ground.
The Young Volunteer Award went to Tom Redfern of Cleobury Mortimer who is a qualified referee and Level Two coach. He also ran a touch rugby programme which attracted 23 new players into the club.
The Mini and Junior Volunteer of the Year was Adrienne Boxhall of Luctonians who has been at the forefront of the Herefordshire club’s thriving M&J section.
She has made child welfare and first aid training priorities and engendered an inclusive culture at the club.
Roger Bates of Telford Hornets won the Senior Volunteer Award for his outstanding contribution to the Shropshire club as team manager and for taking responsibility for pitch marking, pitch care and looking after the facilities at Town Park.
Lou Lupoli of Birmingham & Solihull was Club Volunteer of the Year in recognition of his continued loyal service which has included acting as club doctor for more than 20 years.
He has provided medical support across the whole club during that time and also helped to provide education on the RFU’s Head Case initiative. He also created a player pathway to the club’s colts team in his role as Mini and Junior chairman.
Mike Churchill of Old Halesonians won the Long Service Award for half a century of service at Wassell Grove which has included involvement in the Mini and Junior section, serving as secretary and membership secretary and working on the House and Grounds committee.
The Groundsman of the Year Award was won by Mark Blakeway of Kidderminster Carolians who has looked after the pitches at Marlpool Lane for 16 years.
Telford Hornets won the North Midlands Club of the Year Award and also won similar recognition from the Shropshire RFU.
Old Saltleians were Greater Birmingham’s Club of the Year with Woodrush taking the Worcestershire & Herefordshire honours.
Birmingham Exiles were voted Club of the Year by the North Midlands Society of Rugby Football Referees which is voted for by active referees and advisors.
Presentations were also made to Bredon Star, Birmingham Civil Service, Whitchurch and West Midlands Fire Service for successfully establishing a new team who played ten matches after Christmas in the North Midlands Club Recruiters Initiative. Each club received a set of playing shirts.
North Midlands RFU Volunteer Awards nominations (winners in capitals)
Long Service Award: MIKE CHURCHILL (OLD HALESONIANS), Karen Atkins (Old Saltleians), Richard Brooks (Kings Norton), Andy Harris (Birmingham Exiles), Graham Hitchco (Harborne), David Wellington (Bromsgrove).
Mini & Junior Volunteer: ADRIENNE BOXHALL (LUCTONIANS), Mark Barrett (Kidderminster Carolians), Julie Channer (Aston OE), Steve Fowler (Bredon Star), John G’Napp (Ross on Wye), Richard Stevens (Old Saltleians), Steve Washington (Kings Norton).
Club Volunteer: LOU LUPOLI (BIRMINGHAM & SOLIHULL), Dai Hope (Five Ways OE), Carol Heywood (Pershore), Ian Jones (Dudley Kingswinford), Lorraine Keen (Woodrush), Kieran Manager (Bredon Star), Kevin Mottershaw (Telford Hornets), Andy Root (Birmingham Exiles), James Shadbolt (Redditch), Jason Woodbine (Bromsgrove).
Senior Club Volunteer: ROGER BATES (TELFORD HORNETS), Adrian Bawden (Bredon Star), Andy Clarke (Birmingham Exiles), Clare Foster (Bromsgrove), Dave Griffiths (Pershore), Andy Moseley (Kings Norton), Tony Stafford (Aston OE), Adrian Taft (Kidderminster Carolians).
Groundsman: MARK BLAKEWAY (KIDDERMINSTER CAROLIANS), Derek Coles (Aston OE), Steven Fitzpatrick (Harborne), Robert Greenwood (Kings Norton).
Young Volunteer: TOM REDFERN (CLEOBURY MORTIMER), Ross Attwood (Bredon Star), Julie Channer (Aston OE), Georgina Griffiths (Pershore), James Hudson (Telford Hornets), Freddie Jeavons (Woodrush), Tom Pearson (Kings Norton), Jack Rogers (Old Salteians), Tom Simmonds (Dudley Kingswinford).
Innovation Award: BREDON STAR (CLUBHOUSE PROJECT), Craig Ellicott (Kings Norton), Young Leaders at Turves Green School (Kings Norton), Phil Bennett (Kidderminster Carolians).
Volunteer Team: DUDLEY KINGSWINFORD GROUND WORKS, Bredon Star Ladies Coaching, Kidderminster Carolians Under-17 coaching and management, Harborne kitchen team, Bromsgrove Guinness World Record.
Club of the Year: TELFORD HORNETS
Greater Birmingham Club of the Year: OLD SALTLEIANS
Shropshire Club of the Year: TELFORD HORNETS
Worcestershire & Herefordshire Club of the Year: WOODRUSH, Kidderminster Carolians, Kings Norton, Redditch.
Volunteer of the year: ADRIAN BAWDEN (Bredon Star)