Community Recognition Awards 2021 - Caledonia North Region Winners
The 2021 Scottish Rugby Community Recognition Award winners from Caledonia North region were announced in a virtual awards presentation on Tuesday 8 June.
In the 2019/20 season, the Scottish Rugby annual awards structure was revamped and renamed the ‘Rugby Development Awards’, however in-light of the domestic league coming to a halt as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s awards followed a new one-off format, focusing on the off-field efforts of clubs and schools across all five regions of Scotland over the course of the last year.
The winners were announced via the respective region’s Facebook Group between 6pm and 7pm with recorded video messages delivered by Scottish Rugby’s Rugby Development teamand Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr.
Awards winners were announced for six categories including; Community Champion Award brought to you by SP Energy Networks, Diversity & Inclusion Award brought to you by Scottish Rugby, Young Person’s Award brought to you by Mitsubishi Motors, Charity Fundraiser Award, Inspiration Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award all brought to you by Tennent’s.
Each winner will shortly receive a personalised trophy and prize from the award sponsor.
Scottish Rugby Caledonia North Regional Director, Rudi Urbach said: “With our sport as we know it being on hold for over a year, it has undoubtedly been a hard time. And yet still, players, volunteers and members of the rugby community across the Caledonia North region have been a beacon of light during this dark time.
“We're incredibly proud of all of our winners, indeed all of our nominees. The commitment and passion that came through the nomination submissions was inspirational. We feel very lucky to have so many incredible individuals and groups across the region who are committed to creating inclusive cultures, and promoting the positive values and behaviours of our sport.”
Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr added: “We often say in sport that volunteers are the lifeblood of the game. This year, that hasn’t just been a saying. Rugby volunteers, players and committee members all over the country have shown with their actions, commitment, determination and inspiring acts of kindness just how true that is. I am pleased that we have been able recognise that impact and say thank you to everyone for their efforts with Community Recognition Awards this year.”
The respective award winners and nominees are listed below:
Inspiration Award - brought to you by Tennent’s: John & Lyndsey Hester, Turriff RFC
For over 150 years, the North East town of Turriff (more locally know as ‘Turra’) has generated a hive of activity for the farming community and families with mart days and agricultural shows.
And whilst that very much remains the case, in 2018 the town entered new territory with the establishment of their first rugby club, led by husband and wife, John and Lyndsey Hester.
The co-Presidents were nominated for their “absolutely extraordinary efforts” to keep club members engaged, informed and safe throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. They were further credited for their determination to keep propelling the club forward, and for promoting a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all.
Diversity & Inclusion Award - brought to you by Scottish Rugby: Stuart Corsar, Anna Newsome and Courtni Fritts from Garioch RFC
Despite the challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic, in less than a year Garioch Rugby Club has gone from offering training to just three girls, to now having over 20 young girls training regularly at Kellands Park.
The development of the new pathway was led by senior women’s coach Stuart Cousar. Stuart contributed to the creation of a regular training slot for the girls, promotion of sessions, plus the recruitment of players and coaches.
Coaching the first few sessions, Stuart went on to bolster the programme by recruiting two lead coaches, Anna Newsome and Courtni Fritti, who both play for Garioch Ladies.
Together, Stuart, Anna and Courtni have spent the last year providing young girls in the Inverurie area the opportunity to develop their rugby skills in a safe, welcoming environment with girls of their own age.
The group hope that in the long term they can assist other local clubs to develop girl’s teams and provide a clear pathway for playing opportunities as they grow older.
Community Champion Award - brought to you by SP Energy Networks: Grant Skene, Aberdeen Taexali
Aberdeen Taexali Rugby Club is an inclusive rugby club based in the north east of Scotland, and is one of four inclusive rugby teams in Scotland recognised by International Gay Rugby (IGR).
First formed in 2018, the club nominated Grant Skene for the Community Champion Award, crediting him as being “instrumental” in getting the club to where they are today.
Grant initially became involved at the club as a coach, but he has also spent a great deal of his time volunteering behind the scenes to support recruitment campaigns which have seen the team grow from five members to over 30 in just two years.
On-field, Grant has also been praised for his role in helping the team obtain their first piece of silverware in March 2019, when they won the Antinous Cup at the Hadrian's tournament in Newcastle.
Aberdeen Taexeli Chairman, Joe Burnett said: “Grant has been with the club from day one and has not stopped putting the club first. His vision for how to develop people within the club, along with how we can reach out to the community around us is amazing.”
Charity Fundraiser Award - brought to you by Tennent’s: Trevor Baronet, Shetland RFC
For many years now Trevor Baronet has been creating opportunities for boys and girls at Shetland RFC to enjoy rugby experiences on and off the Island communities. But given the club’s rural location, providing these opportunities can come with additional costs.
Trevor has raised thousands of pounds to subsidise costs for the young players by organising a wide range of events, including Sunday Teas, a fashion show and charity nights at local restaurants with raffles.
In a typical year money raised would be used to fund an annual trip to play in Paris, but plans this year have been put on hold due to covid-19. Despite this change, Trevor has continued to raise much needed funds for the youth section with local sponsorship opportunities and has been further recognised for his efforts to keep the love of the game within the community alive.
Young Person’s Award - brought to you by Mitsubishi Motors: Euan Hamilton, Highland RFC
In the last year, 17-year-old Euan Hamilton has come to the fore in sports leadership within his local community and as a volunteer at Highland Rugby Club.
Euan first joined the Inverness based club as a Micro, and is now giving back as a volunteer coach, supporting over 60 kids in Micros section. Working with the other Micro coaches, Euan is assisting with the planning and implementation of warm-ups and other aspects of training sessions.
Impressive though his commitment to Highland Rugby is, Euan is also a Sport Ambassador to his school, Millburn Academy. In this role, Euan has been providing direct support to help restart school sport which has been impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. Football, rugby and dodgeball are all now back on the sporting agenda, with netball and hockey next on his list.
In addition to this, this year Euan was also selected as one of 20 ambassadors to the Young People’s Sports Panel, run by sportscotland and Young Scot. Euan has been elected as a panel member for the next two years, where he will work with Active Schools Coordinators and local sports hubs with the aim of making sport more accessible, and provide a voice on behalf of other young people.
Highland Rugby Secretary, Andrew Russell said: “I have known Euan since I was a coach to our Micro players and it has been a pleasure to see his development into a young man with a desire make sport more accessible through his club, school and the wider community.”
Lifetime Achievement Award - brought to you by Tennent’s: Carl Beck, Ross Sutherland RFC
Starting out as a player, Carl Beck has been a dedicated volunteer at Ross Sutherland RFC for over 40 years. Following his career on the pitch, Carl has since gone on to take up mantel as a coach and has held various roles within the club’s committee including time as President.
One of Carl’s most significant contributions to the Invergordon based club has been his drive in establishing mini and youth pathways. His efforts in establishing these pathways began in the early 90s, working with local high schools to develop the school game, whilst creating links back to Ross Sutherland. Carl is credited for providing a pathway for hundreds of young people to access rugby across Ross Sutherland’s catchment area.
Using skills and knowledge gained by completing his UKCC Level 3 Coaching qualification in the late 90s, Carl also went on to work with a number of clubs in the north of Scotland to support coach development.
In more recent years, Carl has been described as an “instrumental influence” in keeping club spirit alive, along with supporting the recruitment and education of volunteers to bolster player’s on and off field experiences at the club.
Ross Sutherland club President John Scott said: “Carl to this date is still a committee member & his wealth of experience in invaluable to the club and the community. In the past couple of years, Carl has run a couple of sub committees including putting the plans in place to create a sports hub for the club to get more sports clubs up and running for our local community.