BARRY NEWCOMBE reports from the latest Torch Awards
It was, to say the least, an unusual meeting – Sir Bobby Charlton, world football legend, chatting with 16-year-old Steven Boyd who is the head ball boy at Manchester United.
The occasion was the annual presentation night at the Army and Navy Club in London’s West End for nominees of the Torch Trophy Trust which recognises the work of volunteers in sport across Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Boyd, still at school, is one of the youngest winners.
Boyd’s duties at Manchester United include being at every home game and mentoring the tasks of 13 other new ball boys when the season opened.
Boyd was nominated by the Football Association. Alongside his role at Old Trafford he continues to play football with East Central Falcons on the left wing.
Sir Bobby, president of the Trust, said: “Volunteers forged our success on the podium at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is volunteers who ensure that sport functions and thrives and that sports clubs stay afloat, providing the coaching and consistent support that is needed to inspire the nation’s youngsters.”
Each recipient of the Torch Trophy Trust award is given a miniature of the original London Olympics torch of 1948.
This year’s recipients, who were presented with their awards by the Duke of Kent, are:
Ian Atkinson of Swindon, nominated by the Amateur Swimming Association.
Steven Boyd of Manchester, nominated by the Football Association.
Andrew Crawford of Hampton Hill, Middlesex, nominated by British Rowing.
Eddie Diplock of Sevenoaks, Kent, nominated by the Football Association.
James Ditchfield of Netherton, Liverpool, nominated by the Football Association.
Roger Rees-Evans of Swansea, nominated by British Blind Sport.
Denise Hodge of Cullumpton, Exeter, nominated by the Women’s Rugby Union.
Lianne Jameson of Plaistow, East London, nominated by the Amateur Boxing Association of England.
Dave Kaye of Cheshunt, Herts, nominated by British Weightlifting.
Abby Kumar of High Wycombe, nominated by Badminton England.
Keith May from Scaynes Hill, West Sussex, nominated by England Athletics.
Michael Murphy from Sidcup, Kent, nominated by British Judo Association.
Barry Murray of Nuneaton, nominated by British Canoe Union .
Nancy Riach from Huntingdon, nominated by Lawn Tennis Association.
Stephen Spilka from Cambridgeshire, nominated by British Wheelchair Basketball.
Mandy Stibbe from Peterborough, nominated by British Equestrian Foundation .
Ann Webb, from Craven Arms, Shropshire, nominated by Archery GB.
Cary Wicks from Poole, Dorset, nominated by Volleyball England.
Robyn Wisdom from Worthing, nominated by Volleyball England.
UPCOMING SJA EVENTS
Mon Mar 11: SJA British Sports Journalism Awards at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Entry forms will be available early in December.