05:00PM, Thursday 25 March 2021
A Windsor RFC volunteer has scooped a prestigious national award after her transformational efforts were recognised by England Rugby having been put forward as a finalist by Berkshire RFU.
Beki Davies, 49, has blazed a trail at Windsor through her inspirational work and was nominated by appreciative parents and players who recognised the work she was doing.
After winning the regional round of the competition, Beki was crowned a winner of the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year 2020 in a virtual awards ceremony on March 19.
Beki’s role at Windsor has spanned coaching, first aid, attracting new players and working with local schools – as well as instilling the right values into the club’s youth section and nurturing young talent.
Her inspirational efforts were recognised on a memorable Zoom call with Red Roses legend Katy Daley-McLean, who made a surprise appearance on her interview with television presenter Alex Payne and Mitsubishi Motors Managing Director Rob Lindley.
The Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme gives grassroots rugby clubs and their members a unique opportunity to recognise their volunteers and Beki used her achievement to hail their importance across the country.
“To be recognised like this is quite something – it hasn’t even sunk in,” said Beki, who has been volunteering at Windsor for nine years, was nominated by parents at Windsor and was the Berkshire county winner.
“The only way that community rugby can survive, and grow, is with positive, well-engaged volunteers that make players feel happy and want to play rugby week after week. Clubs create a safe space for players to be and enable parents to trust them to be looking after their children.
“That’s the only way that community rugby is going to survive, and ultimately that’s the only way that rugby is going to survive.
“Without community rugby, you’ve got nothing, and for me it’s massively important that volunteers get more recognition, but also more support, training and development.
“Every club should aim to have more players at the end of the season than at the beginning, any age group and any ability.
“Do it – it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, or whether you’ve ever played rugby before.
“It is a real sense of belonging – you know you are making a real difference. Whether a player has progressed to an academy or just enjoying playing with his friends, you know that rugby is supporting them in the best way that they need.”
The Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme provides a platform to recognise all volunteers who have made a great contribution to their club and community – no matter what their role.
More than 100,000 volunteers give back to grassroots rugby all over the country and, thanks to the support of Mitsubishi Motors, their tireless work behind the scenes is being amplified nationwide.
Beki has left an indelible imprint on all aspects of life at Windsor, not only coaching through the age groups but also facilitating access to rugby for all, securing sponsorship, kit and support to enable every player to have an equal opportunity to play rugby.
Beki has always championed the importance of community values both on and off the pitch, ensuring that rugby has a positive impact on all aspects of players' lives.
She’s worked with local schools to support players through rugby, attracted more experienced talent to the club and has completed her Level 3 coaching qualification to further her own development. Beki also coaches for the Berkshire county and has become a part of the Berkshire disciplinary committee.
Volunteers like Beki are the lifeblood of grassroots rugby and she set out a clear set of steps about how to get involved.
“My strong advice is, find out where your local club is, and drop them a message, because somebody will always come back to you,” she added.
"You will not regret getting involved, whatever your age or ability - rugby will have something for you and the benefits will always be more than getting a bit muddy.
“Even more so now, clubs are keen to get people on engaged with rugby as players, volunteers or spectators - rugby has a place for all. You will always be welcome, and it is not just about being on the pitch throwing a rugby ball around, it is about so much more."
Nominations are now open for the 2021 Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year. To find out more or to nominate someone you know, visit EnglandRugby.com/MMVoTY
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