Four amazing people, who make a real difference to others, are the finalists for England Golf’s Volunteer of the Year Award, sponsored by Players 1st.
They are Jean Hooper of Bramley Golf Club, Surrey; Sue Robertson of Berkshire, co-founder of the Disabled Golf Association; Richard Ward of Wrag Barn Golf Club, Wiltshire; and Jenny Winch of Test Valley Golf Club, Hampshire.
Their outstanding achievements, which have immeasurably increased the enjoyment of other golfers, will be highlighted when the winner is announced at the England Golf Awards 2018 at the Royal Lancaster London on Thursday 22 February.
England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink commented: “Congratulations to four truly remarkable people whose stories deserve to be told far beyond the golfing community.”
The four Volunteer of the Year Award finalists:
Jean Hooper of Bramley Golf Club, Surrey
Jean, a retired teacher, has been the club’s junior organiser since 2009 – while also fitting in a term as ladies’ captain and serving on both the ladies’ and club committees.
As junior organiser she has dramatically increased the number of young members, both boys and girls. She supports the youngsters in every way, with innovative competitions, social events, fundraising, coaching and integrating the juniors in the club.
She uses her experience and skills from her teaching career to mentor juniors, helping them to gain confidence and life-skills and to further their education.
One former junior paid a personal tribute: “When I joined the golf club I was in a lot of trouble at school and I felt awful in myself, lacking all confidence. By the time I was 16 she’d helped me hugely and appointed me junior captain. Her faith in me to this day, I believe, makes me the person I am.”
Sue Robertson of the Disabled Golf Association
Sue, who lives in Wokingham, cares for her husband, Graeme, who has multiple sclerosis, and her three children, as well as holding down a fulltime job in IT. Despite having her own health problems Sue founded the Disabled Golf Association with Graeme and takes on the bulk of the organisation – which includes over 50 golf events a year.
According to one of the nominators who put Sue forward for the award, she is a diamond. “Sue is the beating heart of the Disabled Golf Association and always has time for you as an individual.” he said.
“Sue provides a fabulous service which creates a family for all us disabled players in which playing is only a part, the real benefit is the feeling of belonging and the friendship and support of others.”
Another said: “She is the source of energy for hundreds of disabled golfers around England, including myself, and our lives would be considerably poorer without her efforts.”
Richard Ward of Wrag Barn Golf Club, Wiltshire
Richard has been junior organiser for eight years and, despite a demanding job and a growing family, has developed the section into one of the most successful in the South West.
There are Wrag Barn players in every boys’ and girls’ county squad from U12 to U18, and the club completed an unprecedented clean sweep of all five Wiltshire junior competitions. He involves all the youngsters in the junior section, ensuring teams comprise different players, both girls and boys, regardless of handicap.
To improve the juniors’ playing skills he has introduced club competitions and takes them to other courses to widen their experience. He has developed Wrag Barn Junior Week, eight full days of activity for children, regardless of age, experience or ability.
A nominator said: “Richard has put his life and soul into junior golf and has attracted hundreds of young people into a game that will keep them healthy, active and energised for life.”
Jenny Winch of Test Valley Golf Club, Hampshire
Jenny has held a host of roles at Test Valley: ladies’ captain for three years, secretary, handicap secretary, competitions secretary, fixtures secretary and social organiser. But it’s her other contributions that make her stand out, according to a nominator.
She built a starter’s hut in memory of one member, laying the foundations and mixing the cement. She grows flowers and shrubs for the tees, makes hundreds of divot bags and stands to hang them on, has a home office dedicated to preparing posters, score cards, sign-up sheets and notices. Jenny runs an annual charity coffee morning where her plants and home-made produce are a huge attraction for a county-wide audience.
“No one could be more dedicated to the club and the members are truly grateful and in awe of all she does,” said a nominator. “Her real love is making everything special for others; without Jenny, Test Valley would be a much poorer place.”
Next week, find out more about other finalists for our England Golf Awards 2018