Supporting our sporting stars of the future

Tom McKie outside St James' Park, Alnwick.
Tom McKie outside St James' Park, Alnwick.

Alnwick Town Council is hosting a Volunteers Fair on Saturday, June 27, to try to match organisations with volunteers with the right skills. In the run-up to the event, we are running a series of articles highlighting some of the voluntary organisations in the town.

For the sports-minded and energetic among us, Alnwick has clubs which cater for all interests and a wide range of ages; golf, bowls, running, triathlon, rugby, cricket, swimming, hockey, boxing and football.

But for the less energetic of us, who retain an interest in these sports, is there a role in these sports clubs? The answer is a resounding yes.

Without ‘backroom staff’ – all volunteers – these clubs would not continue to expand and be successful.

Gary Pattinson, of Alnwick Amateur Boxing Club, said: “Our club provides participants with such a range of skills; self-esteem, respect for others, self discipline and social development, which makes it so worthwhile.

“In three years we have achieved so much and we cater for all age ranges of participants from eight years old, male and female.

“My own daughter is an enthusiastic member and she has become All English Female Champion this year.

“We have more than 25 participants, 12 of whom are regularly competing in boxing tournaments, but we could not have achieved this without the small band of volunteers who give so generously of their time.

“We need more. If anyone can help with administration, fundraising or the thousand and one tasks that are needed to help us continue to be successful, we would so welcome them.

“We also need coaches. We would welcome anyone who has an interest in this. You do not need experience, just an ambition to be one of our specialists. We can help train the right person.”

These sentiments were echoed by Tommy McKie, chairman of Alnwick Town Football Club.

“We really, really, would welcome more volunteers,” he said. “We have a loyal, but small, band of volunteers.

“We have more than 500 active players in our various teams. I don’t know whether the people of Alnwick realise how big the club is.

“We now have 14 youth teams, a senior team and a reserve team and, this September, three new girls teams are being added.

“This is an enormous administrative task. We need people to support and help us.

“Everything from cutting the grass, painting the clubhouse and fences, keeping the pitches in good condition, for those who can spare a few hours during the week or on matchdays through to new committee members who can contribute a more time.

“My motto is I would love 100 volunteers doing one job each rather than one volunteer doing 100 jobs. I don’t expect to get 100 volunteers, but any volunteer support would be very, very welcome.

“This is so worthwhile. The young people get so much out of being part of the club, both socially and, I believe, for their future careers. They gain so much in working as part of a team, respect for others that will set them apart and demonstrate that they can, and will be, a valuable employee.

“We cannot offer payment, but we do offer a lovely free tea and biscuits for volunteers. I would encourage anyone who wants to see young people of Alnwick succeed, then help them by volunteering and support us.”

The Volunteers Fair is being hosted by Alnwick Town Council and if current or new event organisers want to showcase their need, they should contact the town clerk on 01665 602574 or email clerk@alnwick-tc.gov.uk