Pride of Table Tennis nominees

Read the citations from nominators for those individuals and groups they have nominated for a Pride of Table Tennis Award in 2024.

Contribution to table tennis

Bob BakerNominated by Claire Moore
  • Chairman of Folkestone and District Table Tennis Association of over 20 years
  • Vice Chairman of Kent County Table Tennis Association for 15 years
  • Provides sound system and helps with administration and running of the following local and county Table Tennis tournaments for over 15 years:
  • Kent Senior Closed and Kent Junior Closed Championships
  • Folkestone Closed Tournaments
  • Folkestone Veterans Tournaments
  • Ashford Closed Tournaments
  • Canterbury Closed Tournaments
  • Bob has assisted the annual team and individual Kent Schools Tournaments for the last 17 years for the benefit of many young school players and teachers/ and parents.
  • Bob also regularly transports TT tables and equipment/barriers to assist in running tournaments for the benefit of local players participation
  • Is a regular player in both the Folkestone and Ashford TT leagues

Bob has for many years always been a key volunteer to many local areas in Kent: Folkestone, Ashford and Canterbury and Kent itself.  He has been instrumental in ensuring all local and county tournaments have been organized well for local participants for the last 15-20 years.  This has involved a range of tasks working in a team organizing  and transporting the equipment/arranging the printing of a draw/league schedule/doing the schedule and checking the draw and ensuring that the equipment arrives and is put up and down safely.  Quite simply Bob is a brilliant team member and extremely hard worker always ken to help people to

Bob is the ever reliable volunteer committee member on many local and county Table Tennis league committees, happy to help and stand in to take on roles to help organizers  and ensure local Table Tennis players have many opportunties to play and enjoy their sport.  When the KCTTA was lacking a chairman Bob always stood in a vice chairman to ensure the association continued.

Bob has also be instrumental in ensuring that the many annual Kent Schools TT team and individual tournaments have gone ahead as planned and checking the schedules, helping to deliver each tournament successfully with a team of volunteers.  As well as supportive with grant funding applications. The impact Bob has had over the last 20 year has had a positive effect on about 10-15,000 different adult and child players/beginners and their parents included.  Furthermore, he has been an excellent and reliable team player and is the very best volunteer you could wish to work with: fair, hard working, reliable, responsive with a strong sense of how we can encourage players/new players to get involved. And on top of all his many voluntary roles he also find the time to play himself in Folkestone and Ashford TT Leagues.

Ian WuNominated by Ian Langley

Twelve years ago Ian Wu took over as Treasurer of the Newbury and District Table Tennis Association (NDTTA) a job that no-one else wanted to do at time and the League were on the verge of holding an Emergency General Meeting to consider the future of the leagues until Ian stepped forward. Over the next 5 years Ian made sure the NDTTA’s finances stayed on an even keel before supporting a clubmate to succeed him and take the role on.

During this period as Treasurer he also set up Kintbury Table Tennis club which has now grown to be the second biggest club in the Newbury League with 6 league teams and over 30 players playing competitively, and another 15 or so he Ian has encouraged to just come long to play for fun. Kintbury is a village so to attract that number of people is quite a feat. Some players travel 30/40 miles from Hampshire and Wiltshire to play at the club.

Ian has been incredibly generous with his philanthropy setting the whole thing up initially, knowing that we will never be able to cover the initial costs for obtaining all the Tables/nets/barriers etc which enable up to 6 tables to be used. This includes the use of his own top level TT robot by everyone at the club. I understand from club members he still dips into his own pocket when new equipment is needed.

In the past couple of seasons Ian has also organised the hosting at Kintbury, of the Newbury Table Tennis Championships, Willmott Cup zonal finals and county matches. Berkshire have lost the use of a key venue elsewhere in the county so it has been really helpful that Ian has got Kintbury TTC’s equipment to a level to enable such high level matches to be held.

He is always the first person there to open up the venue and move the tables from the storage cupboard down the corridor, put up nets/barriers etc.. and the last person at the venue to put everything away.

Ian is also a Level 2 qualified Table Tennis coach and provides free TT coaching at the club. This includes the coaching of a young wheechair user who we hope may be a future paralympian! The later has by Ian’s own admission been a new challenge for him and he has had to adapt his coaching techniques to suit the youngsters disability and to ensure the youngster remains safe (he sometimes plays with a supporting crutch and can fall if he gets over enthusiastic).

Ian puts an enormous amount of time & effort into running the club, & the teams, just quietly & not asking for thanks. He has a great attitude in that he welcomes EVERYONE whatever their standard of TT, into the club, & helps them to improve.  Ian epitomises grass table tennis roots at its best, not elitist at all, but at the same time, providing an excellent venue with some very good practice for higher level players.

There is no doubt the emergence of Kintbury TTC led by Ian has been critical in helping the Newbury TT League maintain its number of teams/players over the last 10 years.

Female Volunteer of the Year

Clare FlynnNominated by Hilary Pegum

Clare has a vision and plan for women and girls accessing high quality coaching at club, county and region.

Her dedication to improvement is based on her experience as a Durham County Champion and England Lady, the obstacles she overcame, the obstacles facing women and girls starting or returning to playing.

Clare’s son chose to join the local table tennis club in 2021. She would enjoy her return to the game, but as a volunteer coach. Clare became a Level Two TTE Coach. She is a volunteer coach for National Junior League, Durham County Junior Team and the Junior British League Team. She coaches weekly with Graeme Barella at NETT. In August ’23 Clare started a new club in Durham, to improve coaching in the North. Clare volunteers to coach and transport the club’s Junior team to matches in local leagues.

As a member of the local club Clare was often surprised to find herself the only female player at club sessions. Where were the girls learning the skills and enjoying the fun of playing matches as she had done as a teenager? Where were the experienced, female players she had hoped to join for matches in the local leagues? Why were the opportunities for challenge, learning and competition aimed at male members? Where were the female coaches? Women had mentioned to Clare that joining an all-male session was intimidating and uncomfortable.

To develop her vision for Women and Girls, Clare began working alongside Lauren Evans, from Table Tennis England. She joined the Local Organising Group and accepted the voluntary role of North East Representative for Women & Girls. Her plan now had a solid base to begin her mission to make a difference. An early objective was to host Women and Girls’ Days around the region. Two events and 40 attendees so far. Next objective, to set a date in the TTE calendar for 1* W&G Tournament in the North; March 2nd 2024.

Clare recognises and understands the different approaches needed to meet the expectations of female and male players. Her resilience and persistence led to an acknowledgement from some club members and officers that female members can play, want to play and will play table tennis. Eventually practical resources were allocated to a trial run of sessions for female players with the hope that they would join the club.

In July 2022 with a £500 grant from TTE ‘Level the Table’ a female-only space was planned for beginners and experienced players. A week later ‘The Terrific Topspinners’ were formed.

We are a group of 18 and growing. We meet weekly to improve, practise, challenge and give support. We have a team competing in the local league. The warmth and friendship within our group spreads beyond the session to other activities and more table tennis. ‘My greatest achievement! ’ says Clare.

Clare has many more goals to fulfil and is determined to build a legacy.

Clare’s coaching skills, people skills, organisational skills, patience, positive attitude, honesty, resilience and commitment of time are exceptional and voluntary.

In County Durham and the North East there are a lot of women and girls, their families, their friends, their colleagues who know of Clare’s voluntary work for table tennis. They will understand why Clare should be Female Volunteer of the Year.

Physical impact

  • Female membership has increased by 1000%
  • Membership income has increased including pupils from local schools
  • The available pool of experience and skills in running clubs, finances and events has expanded
  • Family members are enjoying table tennis together
  • Players continue to receive high quality coaching for free
  • In two seasons the juniors were promoted two divisions, winning Division Two. They now play in an adult team in Division One National League, Durham County Team and The Junior British League
  • Juniors now being challenged in First Division because of opportunities they’ve had through coaching
  • Positive health and wellbeing have increased for female members
  • Clare has mentored a member of our group, to gain her Level One Coaching qualification; we now have two female coaches within our club
  • Terrific Topspinners compete in the Sunderland League – the only all-female team in the league

Social impact

Brandon Club is gaining:

  • a huge opportunity to grow female membership
  • articulate ambassadors for table tennis, TTE and the club
  • a positive reputation for organising regional open days and tournaments for female players
  • recognition as a source of support for female players
  • a growing willingness to play table tennis with women
  • an acceptance that women members can play and win

Emotional impact

Female members are gaining:

  • Confidence in themselves as learners and players
  • Self-esteem from weekly success, support from other women, feedback and encouragement from Clare as our coach
  • A growing willingness to take risks and accept challenges
  • A safe space for fun, enthusiasm and laughing
  • Solidarity to challenge obvious sexist behaviour and actions
  • New friendships and access to other activities
  • A ‘best day of the week’ feeling for Thursdays

Club Members are benefiting from:

  • Diversity, equality & inclusion that new members have brought
  • Increased opportunities to share and learn skills
  • Opportunities to see club members as players of table tennis first
  • Growing respect for players
  • Awareness that bullying and sexist behaviour will be exposed and challenged

Terrific Topspinners know the facts of Clare’s voluntary contribution to our club and league – the hours given, the miles travelled, the meetings attended, the membership increased, the funds raised, the opportunities created, the events organised. All visible and measurable.

Terrific Topspinners have wanted to talk about personal impact – confidence growing, sense of achievement, freedom to fail and succeed, taking risks, feeling ‘good’, learning, laughing, enjoying the group, new friendships, the importance of Thursday, practising, playing, improving.

These are the immeasurable facts of Clare’s impact on our club. They are the most important to us.

Clare was also nominated by Lauren Evans

Christine BurkeNominated by Karen Henry

Christine has represented Northumberland County for over 40 years across the different age categories and her enthusiasm for the game has never wavered during this time.  Following a change in career Christine is now employed on a part time basis at Walker Activity Dome and she immediately recognised that there was a lot of unused space in the Centre and this could be turned into something special to support Table Tennis for all levels. Northumberland had never had a Table Tennis Centre where any player regardless of age, ability/gender could go and play on any day of the week. Christine had a strong vision and passionate drive to change this.  

Christine negotiated the exclusive use of a hall in the building and has set up a Table Table Tennis Club with high quality equipment which is in permanent use for 7 days each week, and the Dome Table Tennis Club was born.  To further establish the Club, Graeme Barella moved his club NETT into the premises within a month of set up, thanks to the support and facilities put in place by Christine. Christine has co ordinated Women’s and Girls events which have attracted interest locally and from adjoining County.

There are only 5 women/girls currently on Northumberland County’s ranking list and with 18 women/girls turning up at first session, it is hoped that this will increase over the coming years, as this is one of Christine’s main aims. For someone who was just going to do her job at a sports facility to creating this sole purpose facility in a deprived area of the North East, is testament to the enthusiasm Christine has, She will not credit this venture as her own, I must disagree with that as I know that it certainly would not have happened without her.

She is on hand to help coaching sessions, often after her shifts or on her days off, and even though she does not drive, this has never been an obstacle for her to provide help. Dome Table Tennis Centre is still less than 12 months old and it’s availability is well known across the Area and is being supported by players who would have had practise/social time restrictions at other venues. It is certainly a venue to suit all and Christine deserves all the accolades for making this possible.

Christine has created a unique space which is clean and safe for all to use. She has personalised the venue with Table Tennis decals highlighting the sports halls use to other visitors, creating additional interest. Within a month of opening, Dome Table Tennis Club attracted Graeme Barella and his NETT Club, and they started to use the venue on a permanent basis. 

This has given Graeme the opportunity to conduct 121s at a Central venue and has certainly been an integral part in the improvement of our Junior players who started to play in Northumbria League this season.

The Area’s first Women’s and Girls event was held at the Club in September with more planned for the future. The Club has hosted it’s first 1* tournaments organised by NETT, the first tournaments in the County for several years, with further tournaments planned. Bat and Chat sessions take place, giving this Club a true community feel.

Due to popularity the Club has extended it’s opening hours to cover 7 days a week, making it a facility truly available to all. From what I have personally seen and also heard from players and parents, this is a great place to go to enjoy the sport that we all love. While less than 12 months old, the popularity is increasing and the space is secured, and the Club is going from strength to strength.

Christine has created real momentum with this and has a hands on approach to everything that is done-she really is one in a million and is certainly worthy of being nominated for ‘The Pride of Table Tennis’.

Megan BollenNominated by Jonny Beasley

Meg has been playing table tennis all of her life and has always been involved in clubs and local leagues, playing in Stowupland growing up, for the University of Derby in BUCS during University, and now in Derby as an adult.

Since April 2022 Meg has been a qualified Level 1 Session Coach. Meg completed her course to begin assisting with our women’s only night which was started as part of the 2022 International Women’s Campaign, #BreakTheBias and has continued to run weekly since it began. Due to the club, Derby Community TTC, being based in the centre of Normanton, the most ethnically diverse suburb in Derby, it was important for a female to be running these sessions for cultural reasons. Along with this, Meg has been giving up her own time each week to support with the junior coaching programme.

Since August 2023 when our Senior Coach stepped down, Meg took on the role of Junior Coaching Programme Lead and we currently run an Open sessions for juniors on Monday’s and hold junior coaching on Wednesday’s which not only does Meg lead on, but she also creates session plans along with exercise/drill ideas for the less experienced coaches to utilise during their sessions which has helped many of our coaches grow in confidence in their coaching.

Meg has also been a staple of our Derby league Division 2 team for the past 2 seasons and, after winning the local handicap cup with the team last season, is currently sitting top of the league and looking at promotion to Division 1 ready for next season! Meg is beginning to look at planning a Derby wide junior development tournament which we are hoping to host in the summer for those players not quite at the level of participating in the league, but wanting some form of competitive experience.

I can’t think of anyone more deserving of recognition for all that she does for the club and the table tennis community than Meg! To be brutally honest, without Meg both the women’s only and the junior coaching programmes that we run would not have continued if she didn’t step up into the role of being a coach and then more recently, Coaching Programme Lead. Due to the location of the club, a community like this brings a lot of security and joy to the kids and this can be seen week in week out when kids of all different ages and backgrounds, who would likely not get on outside of the club, come together for sessions and improve in ability as well as confidence each and every week.

Since taking over, we have entered our first ever junior team into the local league and each player has been performing above expectations picking up the odd win here and there. The Monday and Wednesday sessions are often full and we regularly have new juniors coming in to try it out.

Each and every junior has improved tenfold since Meg began coaching and I’m sure all of them would agree that she has been doing a stellar job.

Meg is also in the process of completing a Level 2 Autism Awareness course and due to the large volume of neurodiversity within the junior programme, this is sure to help improve her quality of coaching massively.

Karen SmithNominated by Mike Smith

Following an open process involving club members, Karen Smith was awarded Knighton Park TTC Volunteer Of The Year for 2023 and thus is nominated for Female Volunteer Of The Year within TTE Pride of Table Tennis awards.

Karen’s main role within the Club is as Treasurer – a role held for many years. Given that KPTTC is a Club which last year had over 220 members-with all the financial and membership transactions that brings over the year- and has its own building – with all the financial aspects of utilities , maintenance and capital investment , the normal load on Karen is very heavy and it is tribute to her ability , capacity and calmness that these are undertaken so effectively and efficiently:

These roles go on year after year so what marks out this year for special mention?

The Treasurer rightly and inevitably works with the Secretary- and this year there was change in the latter role. Karen has been crucial in her support of the new Secretary generally but even more than that has developed her involvement in the very important ongoing work of monitoring how the 15 Senior League teams and the many new members coming to Club nights are progressing.

The intelligence gained from her ability and capacity to talk with and above all, listen to the playing members of the Club has been of inestimable value to all involved given that the new Secretary cannot be at the Club as often as Karen can be. This willingness to talk and listen is much appreciated by members and by her officer colleagues . As a result , better recommendations and decisions about players and teams in the complex jigsaw of 15 teams with over 70 players have been possible to the benefit of all.

Karen is of course a team captain as well and runs her team positively -and remains a high level player in TTE competitions. Karen is not only a volunteer at KPTTC but has also been in the Treasurer role at County level for many years. Karen deserves recognition at the national level for her work on behalf of our Club. Much of what could be said under this has been said above. Karen is the glue that holds the Club together; her impact is quiet, thoughtful and positive. Her impact engenders confidence by the members in the Club and helps it to not just continue but develop.

Female Young Volunteer of the Year

Maddy LyonsNominated by Karen Tonge OBE

Maddy has acted as a young volunteer for over 12 months at Halton Table Tennis Club.

Every week she has come in to evening coaching sessions to pass her skills on to the younger club members. Feeding them, doing multi ball and giving them advice and encouragement.

This season Maddy has attended National Cadet and Junior League weekends coaching one of the young club teams; encouraging the players; then also checking the team players and ID numbers learning how to complete the match sheets.

Maddy is a valued member of Halton JBL team and the Cheshire County Junior teamMaddy has inspired and encouraged younger players at the club. This has given them confidence as beginners to continue the learning process.

It has also given her more confidence which is assisting her at College with her future career. She has taken on the tasks required and stood in when adults/coaches have been prevented from attending NCL and NJL weekends.

Heilam TseNominated by Raj Patel

I am thrilled to nominate Heilam Tse, aged 15, for the Young Female Volunteer of the Year award in recognition of her outstanding dedication, commitment, and impact on table tennis at Kingfisher Table Tennis Club over the past 12 months. Heilam’s contributions have been nothing short of exceptional, and I am confident that she is a deserving candidate for this prestigious award.

Heilam Tse has demonstrated remarkable achievements and contributions in various aspects of table tennis, making a significant impact on our club. Her voluntary efforts have extended across different levels, showcasing her passion for the sport and commitment to its growth. Over the past year, Heilam has consistently devoted approximately 8 hours per week to supporting our junior players.

One of Heilam’s key achievements is her dedication to helping players develop. She has actively engaged with players of all skill levels, providing guidance, encouragement, and valuable insights to help them improve their game. Heilam’s style is not only effective but also inclusive, making her a role model for young players, especially females. She has been instrumental in creating a positive and supportive environment that fosters skill development and a love for table tennis among our members.

Her commitment to fair play and sportsmanship is evident in her role as an official, contributing to the smooth and organised functioning of our competitions during coaching sessions. Heilam’s presence has added a level of professionalism to our events, earning her respect from both players and fellow volunteers.

Beyond her technical contributions, Heilam’s demeanour is worth highlighting. She consistently approaches her volunteer work with a positive attitude, always smiling and creating an inclusive atmosphere for everyone involved. This positivity has had a ripple effect, inspiring other volunteers and players alike.

Moreover, Heilam has become a natural role model, particularly for young children and female players in our club. Her engaging and approachable nature has helped break down barriers and create a welcoming space for everyone, regardless of age or gender. Heilam’s dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion within our table tennis community is commendable.

In conclusion, Heilam Tse’s contributions to Kingfisher Table Tennis Club over the past 12 months have been invaluable. Her commitment to helping and supporting the coaches, officiating, and creating a positive and inclusive environment has significantly enriched the table tennis experience for all involved. I endorse Heilam for the sport award, confident that her outstanding achievements make her a standout candidate for this prestigious recognition.

Heilam Tse’s contributions to Kingfisher Table Tennis Club over the past 12 months have had a transformative impact on the delivery of table tennis within our club. Her dedication and multifaceted involvement have not only elevated the overall experience for our members but have also significantly contributed to the growth and positive atmosphere within the club.

One of the most notable impacts of Heilam’s contributions is evident in the realm of supporting coach/sparrer. As an avid and talented player, Heilam has invested her time and expertise in nurturing players of all skill levels. Her approachability and inclusive coaching style have resulted in increased participation, improved skills, and a greater sense of camaraderie among our members. The personalised attention she provides to each player has led to tangible improvements in their performance, fostering a culture of continuous improvement within the club.

Heilam’s commitment to coaching has also translated into an increased interest in table tennis, particularly among young females. Her role as a female volunteer has broken down gender stereotypes, inspiring more girls to actively participate in the sport. The number of female players has seen a noticeable rise, creating a more diverse and inclusive environment that aligns with our club’s values.

Heilam has played a crucial role in enhancing the overall organisation and conduct of our competitions. Her dedication to fair play and sportsmanship has set a high standard for all participants, contributing to a positive and competitive atmosphere during matches. As an official, Heilam ensures that all players have a fair and enjoyable experience, and her presence has added a layer of professionalism to our events.

Beyond the technical aspects of the game, Heilam’s infectious positivity and engaging demeanour have had a ripple effect throughout the club. Her consistent presence, always accompanied by a welcoming smile, has created a sense of community and camaraderie. Players, volunteers, and parents alike have attested to the positive and inclusive atmosphere that Heilam fosters, making our club a welcoming space for all.

Heilam’s is a role model, particularly for young children and female players, has been a driving force behind the increased sense of belonging within our community. Her ability to connect with and inspire others has contributed to a more vibrant and motivated membership base, with a noticeable increase in the overall enthusiasm for table tennis.

In conclusion, Heilam Tse’s impact on the delivery of table tennis at Kingfisher Table Tennis Club over the past 12 months has been profound. From her coaching prowess and officiating responsibilities to her positive influence as a role model, Heilam has played a pivotal role in shaping a more dynamic, inclusive, and thriving table tennis community. Her contributions have left an indelible mark on the club.

Male Volunteer of the Year

Tajudeen AlaoNominated by Gareth Spencer

TJ’s contribution to his club(s) and to table tennis in general has been nothing short of phenomenal! He has run many tournaments at his own club with different criteria for different standards of player, launched a highly enjoyable (I played in it, so know it to have been so) one star tournament with his name, captained a team and played in it (my son plays in it too and TJ often drops out to allow my son to gain match practice); launched a channel bearing his name with hundreds of videos we all watch and over 1000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, run a women’s team in the British league, TJ superwomen, and so much more. He does it all with a smile and kindness.

To check for yourselves how amazing his contribution has been, at a tournament he organised, you can watch him mopping the floor in the background of his own video all day to prevent players slipping. Then watch him interview the finalists and present the trophies. I once asked his son, who plays at his clubs, ‘Does your father ever rest?’ He thought about it and said, ‘No!’

We know him as TJ and am proud to nominate him for this award. I have never nominated anyone before but TJ deserves recognition for the his amazing work.TJ has run a tournament in which my son reached the final. Made videos of our matches. Given us tournaments up to 1 star level. Run a team in the central London table tennis league. Run a Women’s British League team. I know he is involved running other teams too.

At all times he engenders a sprit of fun infused with a desire for improvement. I know I speak for many when I say, he has made t tennis more fun and provided opportunities for hundreds of us. TJ is simply amazing and we (me, my son, my wife and many others) hold him in awe for his contribution.

Rob CookNominated by Hillary West

Rob was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease four years ago. He started playing table tennis again in his fifties, after a gap of 30+ years. He found it helped him manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s mentally and physically, and he wanted others to have the same benefits. In January 2023 he enlisted the help of two friends to set up a table tennis group in Leeds specifically for people living with Parkinson’s: Leeds ParkyPING! (LPP!).

He secured grants from TTE, Parkinson’s UK and the three councillors in whose ward the venue is, to pay for equipment, the first few months of room hire, public liability insurance and the services of a professional coach.

Using his contacts, with no publicity, he drummed up enough interest to launch the first session in June 2023. Sessions have been taking place every fortnight. There are now eighteen people who take part, each session typically attracting 9-12 players.

Many of the players have not played since their youth; some were complete beginners. rob encourages newer players how to serve, how to score and how to play doubles. Sessions often end with a “challenge” that all players and their carer/partners are invited to take part in.

A professional coach takes every third session, setting up exercises to improve play, providing focus and fun.

Rob produces and circulates a regular newsletter which includes links to professional matches and flagging up tournaments that players may want to go watch or even play in. He is a role model for players living with Parkinson’s, having won medals at the last two international championships.

Rob considered charging a minimum amount for each LPP! session, but decided to trial Pay As You Feel so that anyone eligible to play in the group could do so regardless of income. This is covering the cost of room hire.

LPP! enables play for some people who would not otherwise be able to play. For those who cannot stand unaided, Rob’s helper has constructed a custom-made support stand. This can be used in three different positions to suit the user.

One of the aims of LLP! is to encourage members to play elsewhere. A list of other places to play is circulated in the newsletter and advertised during sessions. These include “normal” and “age-friendly” sessions at Leeds Sports Centres, and at League clubs. Some LPP! players are now regulars at these places.

Rob’s attendance at a relatively new club in Leeds, Chapel Allerton, has led to the club requesting to use LPP!’s equipment for matches. Due to start in the New Year, this arrangement will provide an affordable and spacious venue, and high quality tables, for Chapel Allerton to fulfil its evening league fixtures. Rob has also made a connection with a LGBT+ social group who are intending to use LPP!’s equipment for daytime sessions. He has also approached the primary school adjacent to the church hall where LPP! meets, to offer the equipment for an after-school club.

Rob has done “outreach” work to spread the table tennis word. He purchased a mini portable table which he and his helpers take to events to encourage people to have a go. So far the table has been to a large event involving many organisations on the theme of encouraging older people to be more active, and to a dance group. Other places to play are advertised at the same time on a whiteboard. The table will go to a local festival in July ( Kirkstall Festival ) with a potential to reach out to hundreds of people of all ages.

The existing LPP! sessions are set to expand. A survey has gone out to LPP! players asking for feedback on sessions for far and whether any players would be willing to take on responsibility, with initial support from Rob, for a second daytime session on a different day.

To sum up, Rob’s vision, hard work and constant re-evaluation of the project has increased the number of people enjoying table tennis in the Leeds area.

Nominee Gary KentonNominated by Matthew Porter

I have only known Gary for a short while, but during this short time I have been very impressed with with his contribution to Hollingbury table tennis club but also how he has linked the local club into the local community. I was made aware that Gary stepped into take charge at Hollingbury TTC and has not only steadied the club but helped it grow.

Setting up a Bat and Chat session that now has to run two back to back sessions to meet demand, Seen club nights attendances grow, having partnered with Worthing TTC to offer coaching sessions, hosted the girls only training session before the Winter girls only 1star and has a result the Brighton league has also grown in numbers. Most recently the club has raised over £3000 for charities. A year club quiz raised over £2000 for motor neurone disease a charity close to the club’s heart, while a second appeal with in the same month saw the club raise over £1200 in donations to the local foodbank. To me this shows the community and the spirt that has been developed and nurtured at Hollingbury TTC by Gary.

Male Young Volunteer of the Year

Alain ShibuNominated by Ian Ford

Alain (17) has progressed from sailing through the TTE Young Ambassadors programme with an incredible number of hours to becoming a fully fledged volunteer and committee member within Horsham TTC. He has also contributed to the wider coaching and competition worlds beyond Horsham TTC both in paid and voluntary capacities. Hopefully others may detail his commitment in these wider realms.

HTTC operates coaching (mainly but not exclusively for juniors) weekly in term-time on Mondays 6-9pm, Wednesdays 5-8pm and Saturdays 10-12am and Alain, a Level 1 qualified coach and Tournament Organiser, assistants voluntarily at all these sessions. He’s also assisted at The Forest School weekly after-school TT club and since September he’s took it over as lead coach.

He’s provided the initiative and impetus to bring together a new Horsham JBL team which successfully applied to join this year. He’s prepared to commit whole days to coaching HTTC’s teams in the National Cadet and Junior Leagues hosted in Horsham. Beyond being there on the day he’s quite happy to turn up the night before and spend 1-2 hours setting up the venue to be ready.

On the HTTC committee he’s the Junior rep and has already taken on some important tasks. He’s provided the initiative to research and implement a new club shirt supplier and arrangement. Latterly he’s taken on the job of creating and shaping a HTTC website via the TT Clubs platform.

He’s the team captain of the Horsham D team of mainly juniors that is leading the second division of the Crawley/Horsham TT League.

He’s always open to new opportunities to broaden his knowledge and experiences. He’s got an eye on becoming L2 coach qualified when he reaches 18 in April.

Alain’s accumulated a wealth of knowledge already given the extent of his TT travels and engagements and is able to generate a great deal of respect from players of all ages and abilities within the club. He’s a great role model for the club’s youth ranks.

He’s well mannered and modest but knows his own mind and able to offer a different viewpoint on the issues that crop up within the club. He has lots of time for everyone he helps despite the fact that he’s now a fast rising player in his own right.

His impact on the committee has been nothing short of barnstorming but in a wholly positive way, to the point that experienced officers who don’t know him that well have expressed how impressed they’ve been with him. He’s sorted the club’s new club shirt need, consulting appropriately as he did so, and is well on the way to doing likewise with developing a new and improved club website via the TT Clubs platform. He consistently shows himself to be a man of action.

Hios initiative has also born fruit with the creation and successful entry of a JBL team and now he’s commenced the communication to get HTTC back into SBL next season all being well.

His biggest impact in the club however comes through his consistent support of the club’s coaching programmes where he’s added real depth and quality in support of the head coaches running those programmes and to enable them to flex better to the challenges encountered eg stronger players, weaker players, demonstrations.

Bailey PageNominated by Paul Whiting

Bailey joined the Club Executive Committee in September 2023 at the start of the season as Assistant Club Coach running a weekly after school club. He provides regular updates on the progress of the players and has grown the session from 6 players at the start of the season to a regular 12 players. He has also taken on the role of Assistant website officer, supporting the Website Officer with updates for the website. Bailey has also taken on the role of the Plymouth Pairs League Administrator, which involves him setting up of divisions on TT Leagues, inputting fixtures and results and disseminating information of fixtures and results to League members.

Bailey has delivered disability sessions within the club setting and is looking now to undertake his UKCC Level 2 Coaching qualification. He also supports the Club Head Coach at various national tournaments and competitions, cornering junior members of our club and providing updates on progress at the tournaments, back to our social media and website managers.

Bailey has transformed from a junior player in the club coaching programme into a valued member of the Club’s Operation and ongoing development.Bailey’s club coaching role has doubled the participation level of our recreational coaching programme for school children.

His constant feedback on players progress at tournaments helps the club promote itself on social media both locally and nationally.

Moving the Plymouth Pairs League onto TT Leagues has enabled players within the league to monitor their results and progress more efficiently.

Through Bailey’s disability coaching sessions we now have 2 more club members with a disability playing on a regular basis.

Whilst at tournaments with the Head Coach he regularly makes notes and discusses with the Head Coach areas of development for each player guiding their training and development.

Alekss BelskisNominated by Andrew Crabtree

Alekss joined my school in the sixth form as a keen table tennis player. From starting the school in September 2022 to now, he has attended every school session that he has been able to and has gone the extra mile in every respect.

He assists with putting tables up and down before and after each session, attending and helping at every school fixture and event, even if he was not participating. I am the only coach at the school and a full time Mathematics teacher, and we have over 50 players who attend each week from year 5 through to year 13, 4 lunchtimes a week (just over an hour each session) 1 early morning session, one after school and Wednesday afternoon for sixth form.

Alekss is still not the best player in school, but his commitment and willingness to help and encourage others has been remarkable. In my 31 years at the school, I have not had a better volunteer.Alekss has had a great impact on table tennis in the past 12 months by encouraging and coaching pupils at the school. His effort and enthusiasm have rubbed off on younger players who attend more sessions and are improving their performance.

Many of the players are now attending local clubs in Halifax, Baildon, Bradford and Keighley because of Aleks’s encouragement. His practical assistance has helped me maintain the facilities. Over the past year, several tables became damaged, and our school had no expertise, so together we took apart the damaged tables, arranged for welding and then put them back together, which means we have more tables for the school sessions.

Alekss own performance has improved, and he has joined the Halifax Table Tennis League and participates at Keighley and Beckfoot Table Tennis Clubs. 5 pupils and I were able to take a level 1 coaching course with Chris Parker before Christmas which has also had a great impact on the school club as there are now more pupils who can coach younger players.

Lifetime achievement

Colin FrenchNominated by Albert Davies

Colin first started playing for ESSO in the Southampton League in 1972. In only his second season he joined the club committee and became involved in organising teams and competitions. He started the ‘Waterside Open’ in 1980 which ran for 20 years. In the mid 1980’s he gained funding for tables, equipment and coaching qualifications to begin coaching in his and his wife’s Primary Schools.

After only a few years with the introduction of Saturday morning coaching at Holbury Junior, his wife’s school, both schools started to win Individual and Team titles in the Hampshire Schools TTA Under 11 competitions. Colin and his wife were then involved transporting players to regional rounds and then the National Finals, usually in Stoke-upon-Trent.

When players moved on to the local Secondary School Colin took on coaching at Hardley School and entered them in the Southampton Schools League winning the Under 13 League at the first attempt. The following year Colin took on the organisation of the Southampton Schools Under 13 and Under 16 League which he still does up to the present day.

In 1998 the club had outgrown its venue at Esso and with an ever increasing junior coaching group, adult membership, and with more teams in the Southampton League a larger venue was needed. With lottery funding for new tables and equipment Colin secured two nights a week at a newly built church hall nearby and the club was renamed Waterside TTC.

In 2005 once again the club needed a larger venue so working with ETTA’s Wes Bushley-Harris Colin managed to obtain £250,000 from various sources to turn Testwood’s Sports College’s sports hall into a Table Tennis Centre. When building was about to start there was a short fall of £20,000 which Colin and John Fox paid out of their own funds.

So Waterside Table Tennis Centre was born. The centre has space for 18 practice tables, storage for a lot of equipment as well as tables and chairs, a coffee bar and lounge as well as disabled facilities. Colin is at the club on many of the 5 week days that the club is open as well as running or assisting at weekend events.

Upon opening it was immediately the permanent home of the Southampton Premier Division, Hampshire Closed, Southampton Closed, Hampshire Schools U11, U13, U16 & U18 finals, Southampton Schools League most of which Colin organised or co-organised.

Between 2010 and 2023 Colin has organised the National Cadet League and the National Junior League at Testwood. This season Colin is currently organising a monthly junior beginners competition on Saturdays, the latest of which had 24 entrants. This is designed to provide the players that come to coaching their first experience of competition, not just Waterside players but from other groups in Hampshire and Dorset.

As Chairman and Development Officer of WTTC for just over 25 years and Chairman and various roles with Esso TTC before that, his total contribution to local and Hampshire TT has been 52 years.

As Chairman and Development Officer for WTTC Colin has instigated numerous initiatives to promote table Tennis in the New Forest, Southampton and Hampshire. In 2001/2 Colin was awarded ETTA Development Officer of the Year and the club was Participation Club of the Year. Following the opening of Waterside Table Tennis Centre in 2005 Colin took over the running of the Hampshire Schools competitions at Testwood as well as organising the New Forest team for the Hampshire Games.

Working with the chairmen of Generation 2 (Fareham) and Portsmouth TTC he secured funding from the ETTA for a ‘Solent’ coach coaching in Primary Schools in the three areas by day and at the clubs in the evenings. As participation increased in the local Primary Schools aided by the New Forest SGO a Primary Academy was set up at Testwood providing a pathway through to Waterside’s Junior Coaching.

In 2015 working with the Southampton and New Forest SDO’s, Solent University and TTE’s Lisa Williams a successful application was made to establish our area as one of TTE’s ‘Priority Zones’. A successful ‘Ping’ Project then followed with tables around the New Forest, Eastleigh and Winchester. Working with Southampton Football Club and Solent University Colin persuaded the organisers of Premier League 4Sport at Saints to make table tennis a priority. This resulted in TT Coaches delivering after school coaching in 5 Southampton Secondary Schools.

Further successful applications to TTE’s ‘Satellite Clubs’ initiative resulted setting up one satellite club in one of the more deprived areas in Southampton City as well as a second one attached to Cantell School which had had considerable success from the after school coaching. A number of these players moved on to our club at Testwood so it was quite a success.

Alongside this a successful funding application to Hampshire Table Tennis Association led to coaching being set up in five Secondary Schools in the New Forest which resulted in a New Forest Mini League.

Colin has also played a significant part in the organisation of the Southampton Table Tennis Association. He joined the STTA committee in 1988 and became the Match Secretary in 1990 and then moved on to becoming Secretary in 1994. In 2002 he was made an STTA Life Member and Honorary Vice President. He was the tournament Secretary from 2010 to 2019 and then again Secretary in 2021. Last year he was elected President of STTA. He is still very much involved with STTA matters and oversees the Southampton Closed and Handicap competitions. He still runs the Southampton Premier Division (and has done for the last 18 years) which has its permanent venue at Testwood every week.

Colin is also on the Hampshire Table Tennis Association Committee. In 2016 he was awarded the Harold Albery Award for his contribution to Hampshire Table Tennis. This was in recognition of his many years of organising Hampshire Schools Events, National Cadet and Junior Leagues, Southampton Schools League as well as co organising at the Hampshire Closed Tournaments.

John WatersNominated by Paul Seabrook

As John steps down from the role of Chair of BSETTC this year, the committee and members feel that it would be wonderful for him to receive recognition for the monumental efforts he has consistently made over many years, without which we genuinely feel that the club would not be the success it is. The committee has no idea how we’re going to manage without him at the helm!

John played table tennis in Norfolk where he grew up, being an active member of his local club and playing in the league. The first official role he had, that we are aware of, was at Trimley club over 30 years ago, where he was Secretary from the late 80s to mid 90s. We managed to make contact with Nick Anthony who used to play with him in Trimley – he said “he was a great organiser, and was secretary for about 8 years. Trimley had 8 teams and one of John’s tasks was selecting players into teams – not an easy task to keep everyone happy, but we were all sorry when he moved away. He is certainly a deserving recipient of an award, an all round nice guy.”

John then moved to the Bury St Edmunds area and started playing in the Bury league. He immediately got involved and became a committee member. The committee felt that there was a lack of coaching locally, so he and three other members took action by getting themselves their coaching qualifications. They ran coaching sessions which quickly became popular, so together with Peter Fordham, John started to build our club. They collaborated with the local council which, with John leading negotiations, was successfully persuaded to provide funding.

A club committee was formed in 1998, tables were purchased, a venue was found, and BSETTC became a reality, rapidly establishing a healthy membership. John’s role in making this happen was crucial, and he has continued to be the backbone of the club ever since. It has grown and thrived over the years to become the largest in West Suffolk today, with over 30 seniors and 20 juniors, and 7 teams playing in the local league.

John has always been a key figure on our committee, and has spent a total of over 20 years in key positions such as Treasurer, Secretary and Chairman. He is extremely efficient and manages to carry out a vast number of tasks including admin, organisation and liaison with members and juniors’ parents, other clubs, the local council, local schools and official bodies such as TTE, with whom he always stays in close contact, following advice and guidance.

All this, alongside organising and coaching the juniors. He has created an enormous spreadsheet for the committee to help us cope when he steps down… we wish we could attach it – it shows in writing just how much he does and cares, and just how much thought and effort he puts into every single aspect of the club, and table tennis in general.

John is the first port of call for enquiries/new members; he is warm and friendly, always encouraging people to come along and give it a try, communicating with the committee to look out for people he has spoken to, and welcome them if he can’t be present. In this way, from the start, people feel positive about coming to the club, whatever their level.

He has led the juniors’ weekly coaching since 2002. He has brought in high quality coaches, and encouraged other players to become qualified coaches, always ensuring that there are enough coaches to divide the children into ability groups. One parent reflected “John has been so supportive and encouraging.

He has created an inclusive environment where young players thrive. He nurtures all children equally, thinking about what each individual needs to reach their goals, regardless of their ability”. He encourages juniors to play in the local league, and even to run their own teams. For many years he ran the Suffolk and Cambridge Border junior league – a first chance to play competitively for many young juniors. He also enables juniors’ participation in regional junior and cadet leagues, and is ever present at these events, supporting, coaching and encouraging not just our players, but all players.

His impact reaches out much further than our club. In 2023 alone, he was invited by two primary schools to lead coaching sessions at their sports days. He was asked to run a table tennis festival – a great success with seven schools participating. When the usual area venue for the NJL and NCL was unavailable, he arranged for it to be held at our BSETTC venue, ensuring this important regional league could take place.

Recognising the value of giving young juniors a chance to experience playing, he ran TTkidz for two years. Highly successful, this opened up the game to new players, with several then joining the club. Additionally, John provided development for older juniors by involving them as volunteer coaches and supporting them to achieve their Level I coaching qualification.

John also arranges coaching for the seniors, and makes sure yearly tournaments and events take place. He leads the selection of our seven league teams, ensuring fairness and inclusivity.

John has promoted table tennis in all possible ways over the years, and has been the face of our club – an incredibly positive one. The overall impact has been immeasurable – not just in bringing people in and helping them to enjoy and improve at the game, but also in being a decent human being.

He is a wonderful role model and influence on the Juniors, and a person that parents and other members are able to approach. His commitment and leadership skills are second to none; he unselfishly and wholeheartedly tries to see the bigger picture and to value all individuals for who they are, with the club and table tennis at the centre. We feel that there is no one more deserving of a lifetime achievement award than John.

David WilesNominated by William Moody

Dave has been a dedicated supported of table tennis as player, coach, committee member, umpire and referee for nearly 50 years.

Starting as a player in the local league, Dave was instrumental in getting the Carlton Club in Drayton up and running as a venue for table tennis. Portsmouth Treasurer Richard Stone remembers that Dave in these early years soon became involved as a coach and first qualified in the 1970s.

Dave Wiles is dedicated to Hampshire Table Tennis, Coaching and Umpiring. He has been a member of the HTTA Management Committee for many years and was also elected as Deputy Chairman in 2021. He has been a registered Coach since 1977 and worked with Wendy Lewis to raise the level of Juniors and Cadet play in the County. He gained his Level 3 qualification in 2015.

Dave has been a qualified Umpire for 20 years and attained his Level 1 in 2018. He travels all over the South and Mid England umpiring for Table Tennis England and has been asked by TTE if he wishes to progress through the grades to a National Umpire but has turned it down, as it would mean extensive travel all over the world. He took on the position of HTTA Umpiring Advisor about 15 years ago and advises the Management Council on all Umpiring matters.

Derek Seager HTTA General Secretary has come to rely on him to help run the County Organisation and has confirmed in writing that he supports this application, for all the years of dedication to our sport that Dave contributed.

Pete Woodacre (Chairman of the P&DTTA) commented that Dave Wiles has been an invaluable member of the committee since 1979 across many areas including coaching, umpiring, updates on ITTF rules, transporting Portsmouth Junior & Cadet teams, Hampshire representative and umpire at the Portsmouth Closed tournament.

Dave was also very heavily involved in the junior table tennis twinning events between Portsmouth and Duisburg in Germany which lasted until the 19902. In particular he would ensure the welfare of juniors.

And if all this was not enough, Dave is a founding member of Portsmouth Table Tennis Club (a TTE Premier Club) and is current Chair of the club. Now into his 70s, Dave continues to play in the league and give another evening a week to running club sessions.

Former P&DTTA Chair (and a former winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award) Brian Hall commented:

“Dave has been instrumental in organising HTTA County Closed and Inter Town Competitions and is always ready to volunteer his services when asked. Several years ago he ran some of the HTTA Junior/Cadet National League teams. Quite frankly he is regarded as Mr. Table Tennis by those in Portsmouth and Hampshire who know him well.

He is generous in terms of providing transport where practicable, for persons unable to get to events without help. Dave lives in Gosport and regularly drives his car to Portsmouth and back at least three times a week.”

Dave’s considerable contribution to Table Tennis deserves recognition. He has been a vital and loyal contributor to table tennis in the Portsmouth district, and we would not be in the relatively healthy state we are in without him.

Dave has been the lead coach in Portsmouth for many years. The amount of time Dave has given to coaching, taking juniors to matches and tournaments and the many other duties cannot be counted. Dave was Portsmouth & District Coaching Officer until last year, and has been instrumental in organising HTTA County Closed and Inter Town Competitions and is always ready to volunteer his services when asked. Several years ago he ran some of the HTTA Junior/Cadet National League teams. Quite frankly he is regarded as Mr. Table Tennis by those in Portsmouth and Hampshire who know him well.

Former P&DTTA Chair (and a former winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award) Brian Hall commented on Dave’s impact on the Portsmouth Table Tennis Club:

“Dave is the key person who manages the Club. He attends all sessions for matches, coaching, or regular practise sessions. He is involved with setting up tables and their storage, and he organises the formation of teams for the local Portsmouth League.

The Club has 8 league teams, over 100 members including a strong focus on the development of junior players.

He is generous in terms of providing transport where practicable, for persons unable to get to events without help. Dave lives in Gosport and regularly drives his car to Portsmouth and back at least three times a week.