OLYMPIC gold medallist Greg Rutherford has helped celebrate the contribution that sporting volunteers make to Guernsey at the Bedell Volunteers’ Week night of recognition.
The long jump hero of London 2012 told guests at the event, which saw two local sports statisticians honoured, that sports rely on volunteers.
‘It’s done from the kindness of people’s hearts and it’s those people who get people like me into sport,’ he said.
‘Without people giving up their time, it simply does not work as there isn’t enough funding. If you don’t have volunteers then you don’t have sport.’
He added that the success of London 2012 had relied on volunteers.
‘It’s an amazing web of people who come together to make these events happen,’ he said.
The night of recognition was the culmination of Bedell Volunteers Week, which celebrates and highlights the work of sporting volunteers.
The Volunteer Award, which attracted 17 nominations, and the inaugural Young Volunteer Award, which attracted four nominations were both presented to volunteers who are responsible for sports statistics.
Barry Robilliard, who has been involved with basketball since 1969, was presented with the Volunteer Award by last year’s winner Barry Bartlett and Ceejay Merrien, 15, was presented with the Young Volunteer Award by the Bailiff Richard Collas.
Paul Brehaut, Denise Bourgaize and Richard Skipper were all shortlisted for the Volunteer Award for their commitment to cycling, netball and volleyball respectively.
‘It’s been a really humbling experience choosing the shortlist and the winners,’ said Mark Helyar, managing partner of Bedell Cristin, which sponsored the initiative, organised by the Guernsey Sports Commission, for a second year.
‘Reading through the nominations was amazing and everyone who was nominated deserved to win as sport simply wouldn’t happen without their support.’
In the nomination for Mr Robilliard, or Baz as his is known, was described as an unsung hero who fully deserved his place in the Guernsey Basketball Association hall of fame.
‘Barry works tirelessly and is a credit to Guernsey Basketball. Barry loves the game and has contributed more than anyone else to its success. Barry was there from the start when the association was formed in 1969 and as a player, referee, administrator and statistician has ensured the memories of Basketball’s finest hours are kept alive through his record keeping and “Bazza Stats”,’ it said.
Mr Robilliard was shocked by the win.
‘I was just flattered to be nominated so to win is even more amazing. You don’t do this because you think you are going to win awards, it’s a two way thing, it’s not just about me giving because I get so much out of doing it,’ he said, adding that being recognise by so many players, past and present was enough of a reward.
He added that all sports relied on volunteers.
‘Sports simply can’t afford to employ the people they need so they rely heavily on volunteers. Without them, some organisations would simply fall by the wayside.’
Miss Merrien is also involved with sports statistics through the GIAAC and began volunteering last year. In the nomination, she was described as the Channel Islands’ preeminent expert in the results process and the technology behind the electronic timing.
‘The results produced are used by athletics governing body, British Athletics on their “Power of 10″ database but what has been most impressive is the respect which she commands from adult officials and competitors for just being good at her job. The fact that she is still only 15 is immaterial,’ it said.
Miss Merrien did not expect to win.
‘It’s a surprise and I was a bit shocked that I was the winner,’ she said.
‘Everyone always thanks me and people know me from the work that I have done. I will definitely be putting this on my CV as it’s a big achievement.’
The night of recognition was the culmination of Bedell Volunteers Week which has also seen presentations by Guernsey Sports Commission in schools, a Hall of Fame showing sporting volunteers throughout the years on display around the island and a workshop about managing volunteers.