Oakham Rugby Club volunteer scoops award

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A sporting hero from Rutland has been rewarded for her volunteering work in a glitzy ceremony in London.

Barbara Crellin, a volunteer with Oakham Rugby Club, was honoured with a national award from the Torch Trophy Trust.

Barbara, 67, who lives in Oakham, was nominated by the Rugby Football Union, rugby’s governing body, for her ‘instrumental’ role in developing girls’ rugby at the club, and her commitment to establishing mixed ability rugby.

Barbara, a retired headteacher who left St Nicholas Primary School in Cottesmore in 2011, said: “The ceremony at the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall was very, very good.

“I have been involved in sports in some way, shape or form all my life, whether that be spectating or whatever, and have been involved with Oakham Rugby Club for 34 years now.

“It began when my children started playing for the club, and it has grown from there. I have done everything and anything from sorting out the mini junior kits and refreshments to organising fun days, from first aid to health and safety.

“If it needs doing at the club, chances are I’ve done it, and it’s immensely rewarding and satisfying that my efforts have been appreciated.”

A citation at the awards ceremony read: “She is the person the club turns to when something happens and oversees everything from health and safety to tour paperwork.”

It went onto say rugby is a “small part” of Barbara’s work. She also supports Rutland cross country and athletics championships, as well as organising Rutland’s swimming galas. Barbara is also chairman of Rutland Local Sport Alliance.

It also recognised Barbara’s work in promoting sport during her teaching career. She was headteacher at Cottesmore St Nicholas Primary School from 2001 and before then she was a teacher at Oakham CE Primary School for 16 years.

Volunteers from the Rutland Water ParkRun were also honoured for their ‘exceptional service to the sport and the local community’.

The Duke of Gloucester, who presented the awards, said: “Without people like Barbara, sport simply wouldn’t exist. We’re very lucky in this country to have an army of volunteers, but these awards are given to only a handful of people each year.”

The Torch Trophy Trust was founded in 1962 and exists to encourage, reward and recognise the UK’s three million sports