RUGBY: Do you know the volunteer of the year?

Robin McCormick, general manager of SONI, wants more local entries for the SONI Community Rugby Champions Award.
Robin McCormick, general manager of SONI, wants more local entries for the SONI Community Rugby Champions Award.
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Do you know a rugby volunteer who deserves a medal? Well here’s your chance to put them up for an award.

Who serves up the best sandwich, gets the kits sparkling clean or always makes sure you find the ground on time?

It doesn’t matter if they are a Head Coach, a fundraiser, a minibus driver or a tea lady, you can dominate them for the SONI Community Rugby Champions Award.

A new initiative launched by SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) and Ulster Rugby, the award aims to honour and recognise the dedication of community rugby volunteers across Ulster.

And they want more entries from Banbridge and Dromore.

You have up until Tuesday 8th March to get in your entries before four finalists are shortlisted to attend Ulster Rugby’s glittering end of year awards ceremony.

And your club would benefit too, as the three runners up receive a £500 bursary for their local club and the overall champion wins £1,000.

SONI who is responsible for running the electricity grid across the Province launched the initiative at the beginning of the year following its recent announcement of its title sponsorship deal with the Ulster Senior League.

Robin McCormick, General Manager of SONI, says: “We want to ensure that all volunteers from across the Province have a fair chance to win the award and prize for their club.

“I would encourage everyone to put forward a volunteer they know who is worthy to be crowned our champion. We encourage entries across all disciplines, whether it’s the Head Coach, a young volunteer, fundraisers, minibus drivers or tea ladies – as long as they have been involved with the club for at least six months, they are eligible to enter.”

Judges will be looking for those who have made a positive contribution to their club and someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty for the love of the game and their club.

Chris Webster, Domestic Rugby Manager at Ulster Rugby, encouraged those who know a hard-working and dedicated volunteer, to make sure the put them forward for nomination:

“Rugby clubs play a huge part in their community and they rely heavily on the dedication of volunteers, who don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

“The SONI Community Rugby Champions award is a fantastic way to recognise volunteers’ achievements and to say thank you for all their hard work, commitment and devotion to their local club. The runner up bursaries and the overall prize would have a significant impact on local rugby clubs and I’d encourage all clubs to put forward volunteers.”

The deadline for entries is 12noon on Tuesday 8th March. Anyone can nominate by filling out the online application form at www.ulsterrugby.com/communitychampions

For more information on SONI visit www.soni.ltd.uk or follow on Twitter @soni_ltd.