Stamford Rugby Club's Michael O'Connor is the winner of an England Rugby Mitsubishi Volunteer Recognition Award
Stamford Rugby Club's Michael O’Connor has been recognised for his tireless work after landing a coveted national award.
He is the winner of an England Rugby Mitsubishi Volunteer Recognition Award for his sterling service to the Midlands 2 East (South) club.
First nominated last year, Michael reached the final 14 out of hundreds of nominees and found out on Friday night that he had won.
Normally it would be a black-tie event at Twickenham where the winner would be announced but this year it was secretly revealed over Zoom before the official virtual awards ceremony took place.
Michael said: “I am thoroughly honoured to win this. It came as a huge shock as I really didn’t think I would get to the final.
“You get into volunteering because you have a passion for the cause, in this case rugby, so you are not expecting a pat on the back. When something like this comes along, it is extra special.
“I also have to give a special thanks to my wife Jacqui and my kids Harry and Georgie. When the season starts it takes up a lot of time and it’s great to have their support.”
Michael’s work sees him head up the senior section of the club which includes the first and second teams, the colts and the women’s section.
He also coaches the Under 10s where his son Harry plays and he is an active member of the committee.
Michael also uses his profession in marketing to put Stamford Rugby on the map through social media and public relations with media coverage in the Stamford Mercury plus rugby publications across the country.
He added: “There is an old saying that, no matter where you are in the world, if you find a pub showing rugby then you will make mates for life.
“Stamford Rugby epitomises this. There are so many opportunities at the club from coaching, managing teams, facilities right through to fundraising and helping out on match days. This award really represents everyone that makes Stamford Rugby what it is today.
“You get a real sense of purpose and the actions that you do can be seen in the people you are helping.
“When it comes to coaching you make sure there are fun sessions planned for the age-grade players in a safe learning environment and with the seniors by working closely with them on their needs as players and challenging them to be better.
“This was rewarded with the first team finishing as champions last season with promotion to Division Two.”
The Zoom interview was led by Alex Payne, Sky and House of Rugby presenter, and the award was presented by Ugo Monye, ex-England Rugby player and TV presenter and Rob Lindley, managing director of Mitsubishi Motors UK.