Although we were hugely disappointed we couldn’t put on a presentation night for our children and their families this year, we have taken the opportunity to recognise and award the ‘big people’ behind the scenes. These people spend hour after hour, day after day giving every spare amount of their time to ensure the club runs smoothly and efficiently thus providing a safe haven for our children and members. I cannot sing their praises loud enough and they are some of the most selfless, caring and committed people I have the honour to volunteer alongside.
It gives me a tremendous honour to reveal that former Chairman, coach and current club Ambassador Mr Andy Connor has been awarded the 2020 Lifetime Membership award and his name carved into our special board. Upon presenting him with his award, he said
“This means so much to me and the family who have lived Portico Vine ARLFC together for the past 15 years. It’s such a fantastic honour and I am humbled but with huge pride and heart to accept it knowing the awesome stars who are running the day to day Portico family club we helped for the good of our awesome kids”.
When discussing the 2020 volunteer of the year award, both Billy and I wrote down the names of two people - we agreed the people we had in our own minds could not be separated. As happened last year, the two names were the same. Again, I am delighted to reveal that the joint winners of Volunteer of the Year 2020 are Mrs Angela Thomas and Mr Sean Furlong. You would not believe the amount of time, effort and commitment these two have put in, not just this year, but particularly this year with all the additional challenges we have faced.
Sean said, “I don't know what to say but a massive thank you for the award. Within the club we have great volunteers and to be selected is a total honour - thank you to everyone who helps make our club live up to our ethos of being a family club.”
Whilst Angela commented, “It really is an honour to be chosen from the many many volunteers who make our club such a special place. Despite the challenges this year, our volunteers have contributed their time and effort in so many ways, and it’s just incredible that we will be starting the new year in such a strong position with so much to look forward to.”
Next up, two people who have dedicated decades of their time to our club and two people who give me the desire, encouragement and motivation to steer the ship. Without these two people, the club would not be in existence because they do everything most people don’t see or would never think about. To recognise their prolonged commitment to Portico Vine, again it gives me great pleasure to announce the winners of Outstanding Commitment 2020 - awards go to Mr and Mrs Ian and Sue Skerry.
Upon receiving the awards, Ian said, “My speech would have been.....I accept this award on behalf of all the ground staff and many volunteers that turn up week in and week out. There are too many names to remember, but the ones that come to mind are Paul Nulty, Billy Vaughan and Sean Furlong. So on their behalf.... thank you.” He joked, “I wouldn't really. I don't speak that much. I'd have just said 'ta' !!!”
Sue followed up by saying, “Thank you all so much. We are truly humbled.”
For innovation, creation and constantly driving the club forward is an individual who juggles coaching with a senior Committee role and work commitments with key responsibilities. For introducing innovative ideas and fundraising, particularly during the various lockdowns, I’m delighted to award Paul Collingwood the Innovation award for 2020. Paul dedicated the trophy to every single member of the team who have assisted him with fundraising and grant applications this year.
Health and Wellbeing have been particularly important this year and the next award goes to a new addition to our volunteering cadre. Regularly signposting the club to healthcare partners, new schemes and new support mechanisms which the club are able to share on social media and on our website, it gives me great pleasure to award Miss April McBride the 2020 the Portico Vine Health and Wellbeing Award. April was at the forefront of our Covid-19 response which received local, regional and national acclaim. April stated, “Oh wow! Thank you so very much I’m touched by this and so grateful.”
Billy and I are also delighted to award two further club ambassador trophies out for two exceptional people. Joining Andy Connor and David Rotherham as official club ambassadors are Sean Furlong and David Hobin. Their unwavering commitment to our new clubhouse project has seen our long term dreams and ambition become reality. All four ambassadors are superhero’s without capes. David said, “I am honoured to accept the recognition of club ambassador particularly after a relatively short period of being connected to the club. I am happy to help drive the club forward as it’s values and culture are the best I’ve seen in a voluntarily organisation.”
After consulting each other throughout the award nomination process, this one I didn’t liaise with Billy on. This next award recognises the dedication and leadership within our club and wider community. From leading a major project to looking after our elderly neighbours on Scholes Lane. From ensuring child welfare to sourcing sponsorship. From always going that extra mile with such a unique and personable touch to his regular wheeling and dealing. We speak everyday and his qualities are known by everybody so it gives me another great honour to announce the winner of the Leadership in the Community award 2020 is - Billy Vaughan.
Despite his obvious surprise, he stated, “I would like to thank the Chairman and all senior committee for bestowing such a prestigious award to me. It is beyond an honour and I am humbled to except this award. I stand alongside so many incredible people at our club who without doubt have inspired me and they will continue to inspire me. We are reaching a new dawn as 2021 approaches this forthcoming year will be hard to parallel as our little club will see changes as they've never seen before. Once again I thank you and god bless you all.”
Photos will be posted within a further Facebook post tomorrow.
I would like to announce the following people are the next group to be commended in the new year with their framed certificate to be displayed in the clubhouse.
Kieran Lacey - citation reads -
For long standing dedication, passion and enthusiasm to coaching children across all age groups and passing on his wealth of experience and talents.
Martin Hughes - citation reads -
For creativity, originality and artistic detail when redesigning the clubs new look website and social media platforms.
Diane Rotherham - citation reads -
For unwavering commitment to ensuring the highest standards of child welfare are maintained and enhanced.
Colin Harris - citation reads -
For outstanding organisational and communication skills to embed the next generation of Panthers squad into our club.
I would like you to know who those special people are who you may or may not know, you may see them, you may not. But these people, alongside those listed above, have gone above and beyond in 2020 to ensure our club is the best it can be.
Chris Lyon, Craig Stanton, Jenny Hughes, Suzanne Travis, Karen O’Dowd, Mike O’Keeffe, Paul Huston, Craig Tracey, Paul Conroy, Anthony Rotherham, Gaz Friar, Lisa Preston, Nadine Melling, Al Cheetham, Nikki Griffiths, Nick Kerwin, Sue Sharrock, Jill Finney, Tracey Leung-Fullerton, Joanne Norton, Karen Smith, Paul Nulty, Paul Wilkes, Dave Brown, Kev Woodward, Leanne Derbyshire, David Segar, Nicola Fallon, Patti McDonald-Holmes and to every single person who gave up their time to support the VIY project (this will be awarded separately).
I would also like to thank every follower of our social media pages and to those of you who regularly like/comment/share our content.
To our loyal sponsors, we will be contacting you separately but without your continued support and loyalty, this season would have been much much more challenging. We look forward to the time we can put on an evening to recognise you all.
Finally, a massive shout out to our players. We cannot wait to provide you with some normality again. It’s been a tough year for the adults so I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it’s been for our children. We can’t predict how the pandemic will play out but what we can guarantee is that the players will be at the centre of everything each of the volunteers do.
Congratulations to the winners and thanks so much for all your support. You make my role that much easier and for that I am eternally grateful.
Look after each other, look out for each other and I wish you a very merry Christmas 💚💛