Voluntary sport award for rugby coach Gary

THE voluntary efforts of a local rugby coach have been rewarded with a prestigious award.

The Hughes Insurance Sports Volunteer Awards, a national awards programme recognising the unsung heroes of local sport in communities across Northern Ireland, has announced 12 regional winners from across the province.

Hundreds of volunteers from all sports were nominated with the Ballymena Sports Volunteer Award going to Gary Donald.

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Gary was chosen as the Hughes Insurance Ballymena Regional Winner for his work with Rascals & Bears at Ballymena RFC.

Gary has been coaching the mini rugby at Ballymena RFC since 2002. Gary has grown the reputation of the club across the community and as a result numbers have increased threefold since he took over as Head Coach.

Gary has committed a lot of time and effort over the past ten years and is a very deserving winner.

The aim of the awards was to unearth the true sporting heroes in our communities and were judged by an independent judging panel.

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Twelve regional winners were selected across all the Hughes branches with each winner being awarded £200 for themselves along with £500 for their club and a bespoke trophy.

Hughes Insurance Ballymena branch manager Sylvia Thompson said “There is some fantastic work being done by sports volunteers in our community and we want to thank everyone who took the time to nominate people they know doing some fantastic volunteer work.

“We are delighted to announce Gary as our winner for his work with Rascals & Bears and give him the recognition he deserves.”

All 12 branch winners now go forward to the Northern Ireland finals and the chance to win the Overall Sports Volunteer Award title.

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