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Volunteers’ Week Star Stories

Volunteers’ Week has been a great opportunity to raise the profile of aquatic volunteering and recognise the thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time to making the sport happen.

We have been incredibly pleased to see so many of you sharing your inspiring stories and pictures. Here are some of our favourites.

Halifax Swimming Club

Halifax Swimming Club has been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award to be given to any voluntary group in the country. Halifax SC is the only organisation in West Yorkshire to receive this accolade this year.

In recognition of this fantastic achievement the club will receive a certificate and commemorative glass trophy, presented by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe. Two representatives from the club, Elaine and Mary have been invited to attend the royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 10th June.

Chairman for the club, Mary McClung who will be attending commented, “We only wish we could extend the invitation to all those deserving people who have helped us to maintain continuity for all athletes in our club. Thank you to everyone who has given their time to the club in any way at all over the last 150 years. You should be so proud that your contributions have been recognised in this way.”

Harry and Margaret Stenton

Harry and Margaret Stenton have been presented with ‘thank you’ cards from members of Boldon Swimming Club as part of Volunteers’ Week.

The couple founded the club 36 years ago and have devoted thousands of hours to nurturing the talents of hundreds of young swimmers in South Tyneside over the past three decades.

The pair were recognised during a special club session along with club chairman and coach Darren Simpson, who was one the first swimmers at the club, and other members of the volunteering team.

Mr Stenton said, “As a family we all enjoyed swimming and, at the time, the centre in Boldon was looking for someone to run a swimming club. We stuck it on the notice board and it took off from there. We became a teaching centre, then the competitions and galas started.”

Mrs Stenton added, “We never thought the club would be this successful when we first started. We have had lots of swimmers grow up to become parents whose children now swim at the club. It has been a fantastic experience. We will keep coming along and doing what we can for as long as we can. It is one of the best things we could have done and I don’t know what we would be doing if we weren’t here.”

The couple, along with the club’s other volunteers, were presented with cards signed by the swimmers during a special surprise presentation organised by secretary David Charlton and Gillian Smith.

Mr Charlton said: “It is not very often our volunteers receive recognition for the hard work that they do. We felt that it was about time to give them some official thanks. It was hard, but we managed to get all the cards signed without any of them finding out.”

The club is run solely by volunteers and is currently supported by 21 people who put in at least 40 hours of work into the club each week between them.

Somerset ASA

Zoë Harrill-Davis

Zoë Harrill-Davis, club captain at Backwell Swimming Club coaches for the club every week. Her knowledge of the swimmers is exceptional and she provides valuable gala feedback and is brilliant at encouraging novice competitors. Zoë also volunteers as a judge at Somerset ASA Counties and acts as Chief Timekeeper at City of Bristol events. Zoë is a shining example of a young volunteer who gives generously gives her time. Somerset ASA is delighted to recognise Zoë's achievements with the top Young Volunteer award.

Hannah Pullinger

A club member of Chard and District for nine years, Hannah took part in the first Somerset Young Volunteer scheme in 2012. Since then Hannah has completed her Level 1 teaching swimming and lifeguard qualifications and currently coaches for the club on a weekly basis, as well as marshalling at club galas, helping with the annual club awards evening and on the medal desk. Hannah has also been the club’s Press Officer for three years, regularly writing gala and club reports for the local press and club website. She is conscientious, hard working and reliable, and very popular with all the younger swimmers. Somerset ASA is delighted to recognise Hannah's achievements with a Young Volunteer award.

Keir Graham

Keir Graham has been a volunteer with Taunton Deane Swimming Club for over a year and continues to swim competitively whilst volunteering over five hours per week.  Keir contributes to a number of roles at the club, supporting the coaches, starters, results recorders and officials. Keir is willing to turn his hand to whatever is asked of him and is currently undertaking his Judge 1 and Level 1 coaching qualifications. Somerset ASA is delighted to recognise Keir's achievements with a Young Volunteer award.

Elaine Gilburt

There was unanimous agreement within the Somerset ASA Management Committee that Elaine Gilburt should be this year’s very worthy and much respected recipient of the Wyvern Plate – an award made annually for outstanding service to swimming in the county. Elaine has been making a significant contribution at local, county and regional levels for many years, she is a long serving and much valued member of Frome Swimming Club. As well as serving the county in a number of roles, she has been a swimming referee for a number of years and continues to officiate in galas at all levels. She is also a stalwart supporter of ASA South West region, her main role currently being the regional meet licensing officer. Somerset ASA is delighted to recognise Elaine's contribution to swimming over the years.

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