A volunteer at Roch Valley Raiders Go-Ride Club is in the running for the 2014 Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award, which will be presented at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
Yvonne Mills, a volunteer at Roch Valley Raiders Go-Ride Club in Heywood, has been named as the North West Unsung Hero for 2014, in recognition of the difference she has made to cycling in her local community. Yvonne has now been shortlisted for the national award, which will be presented at the BBC’s ceremony in Glasgow next month.
The Unsung Hero award aims to recognise those who inspire people to get involved in playing sport in their community and rewards the remarkable achievements of people throughout the UK.
Having bought her two children bikes for Christmas, Yvonne was aware a local BMX track existed that was in a bad state of repair and decided she wanted to do something about it to provide local people with the opportunity to ride in a safe environment. In 2009, Yvonne set about regenerating the track and established Roch Valley Raiders BMX Club.
The club has gone from strength to strength and Yvonne was presented with the North West Unsung Hero Award by the BBC at the club’s Go-Ride session on Saturday, surrounded by scores of children and parents who turn out every week throughout the year.
Yvonne said: “I felt completely overwhelmed when it was announced that I had won the award, it’s a real honour to be recognised in this way and means a lot knowing that not only the riders, parents and fellow volunteers recognise the dedication that goes into running the club, but also British Cycling and the BBC.
"It’s a fantastic achievement not just for myself, but for the club and BMX as a whole, and will hopefully encourage even more young people to get involved in the sport.
“Volunteering has given me so much more confidence and self-belief, and seeing the smiles of riders at race meetings or coaching is enough reward to know that my time and efforts are appreciated. This is just the icing on the cake!”
As club secretary, Yvonne is responsible for everything from handling the club’s administration to producing the club’s promotional material and applying for funding.
Yvonne also coordinates the recruitment and training of volunteers and provides support to the members at every level, going above and beyond the expectations of a voluntary club secretary.
It is Yvonne’s organisation and dedication, as well as her friendly, can-do approach that enables the club to function effectively, while ensuring that everyone feels both welcomed and valued.
British Cycling’s director of coaching, education and development, John Mills, said: “Volunteers are fundamental to the future of grassroots sport and the growth of cycling.
"Our network of Go-Ride clubs is driven forward by scores of dedicated volunteers across the country and it is fantastic to see Yvonne’s hard work and commitment recognised in this way.
“Yvonne has turned the BMX track into a focal point of the community and given young people a real opportunity to achieve something they can be proud of every week at Roch Valley Raiders Go-Ride Club. She is tireless in her efforts and this award is deserved recognition of the incredible difference Yvonne has made in her community.”
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards take place on 14 December 2014, where the UK winner of the Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award will be announced.