Kent golfer Paul Cannons has been recognised by England Golf as the 2018 Volunteer Manager of the Year for his work to inspire and encourage talented young squad players.
Cannons, a member at the Kingsdown and Walmer club, was honoured at a gala dinner at the annual coaching conference at Woodhall Spa Golf Club, the home of England Golf.
Coach Ryan Fenwick, who worked with Cannons for four years, commented: “This man tirelessly dedicates his time to help support young people up and down the country in their quest to become better at the game of golf.
“Without people like Paul Cannons it wouldn’t be possible to run our county and national programmes. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do each week for these tremendous young people and, ultimately, the game of golf.”
The former school teacher began volunteering as club junior organiser when his own son was a keen young player. Cannons went on to become Kent boys’ manager before taking on the role of manager for players on the South East AASE programme, working with Fenwick. He’s now the manager of the U18 South East boys’ squad.
There’s been some tremendous highlights: English amateur champion Thomas Thurloway came through the AASE squad, as did Jensen Hull, who represented England in the Irish boys’ open and was a semi-finalist in the British boys’ championship.
But Cannons’ reward is simply: “Dealing with young people with a passion for the game. They just want it and they’ll do anything to achieve it. They’re just lovely people who want to play golf and hit that little white ball as far as they can. I enjoy working with them.”
Cannons was recognised alongside three other award winners. JJ Vallely of Matfen Hall, Northumberland, and coach to the North girls’ squad, was named Squad Coach of the Year. Yorkshire’s Les Walker, from Selby Golf Club, received the Award for Excellence in Coaching in recognition of his years of service as an England and GB&I selector. A Special Recognition Award was presented to David Ridley of Coxmoor Golf Club, Nottinghamshire, to mark his retirement after 32 years as an England coach.
Caption: Paul Cannons, right, is pictured receiving his award from guest speaker Guy Richardson of Eiger Performance (image copyright Vicki Head)