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Two Devon rugby volunteers are in the running for a top national award

16 Jun 2017 11:45 | Sara Raine

TWO hard-working rugby volunteers from Devon are in the running to win a national award.

North Tawton’s Claire Caron and Devonport Services’ Barry Waterfield have been named as finalists in the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year Awards.

There will be 42 finalists from all around the country who will attend a black tie event at Twickenham on September 15, where three overall winners will be selected.

Mitsubishi will arrange for Claire and Barry to travel to London and stay for a night in a hotel.

The pair were selected from two regional events held in Devon to recognise all the area’s rugby volunteers.

One event was held at the Mitsubishi showroom in Brixton, near Plymouth, and another took place on Thursday in Exeter (pictured above).

All the nominees at these events received ‘value volunteer’ certificates.

Devonport Services and Devon official Waterfield thought he was just collecting a certificate like everyone else when it was announced at the end he was one of the 42 national finalists.

“There were loads of people nominated and they went through the list in alphabetical order and I just thought they had missed me off for some reason,” he said. “But then at the end they announced I was the area winner.

“I must admit, I was a bit shell-shocked. I didn’t see that coming at all.”

His citation read:  “This nominee works around the clock for coaches and players alike, in both their own club and the county teams, and goes the extra mile every time.  They put infinite hours into coaching, setting fixtures, making sure players can play and get transport to games.

“This person is described as a great motivator, who always encourages their players to do their best, no matter if they are winning or losing.

“A personal tribute comes from one player who said: ‘I have nominated this person because they were more than just a coach to myself and all the other girls at the club – we all saw this person as a friend or a ‘rugby parent’. We were always treated fairly and encouraged to talk to them about anything that concerned us. This person taught me everything I know about rugby and has never let anyone down.’”

Claire’s citation read: “Claire is a graduate of the RFU Leadership Academy and has taken on a huge amount of responsibility at her club, almost single handily keeping the club going in a very trying time.

“Taking on the hybrid role of chairman/secretary/treasurer, Claire mobilised a young group of players to help at the club, using the YRA programme to support this.”