Banbury coach Eric Barlow introduces Young Ambassador Nicholas Walker, who has logged more than 60 hours of volunteering at Shutford TTC and the Banbury league.

Nicholas joined the YA scheme in September last year and has been mentored by Banbury Head Coach Eddie Roofe and myself.

He has now logged 60 voluntary hours supporting league, school and club coaching activities in the Banbury area. The photo above shows him receiving his Table Tennis England YA certificate from John Bailey (Shutford TTC organiser, left) and myself.

His contribution includes:

  • Banbury National Cadet League (NCL) team captain
  • Coach Eddie Roofe’s assistant at his own school The Warriner (Bloxham), supporting the after-school club and organising tournaments during school sessions

Shutford is a small village in North Oxfordshire and this club started just over a year ago with less than a handful of players. It is now thriving with 25 members including a recently formed junior section with around 10 players.

Nicholas has provided invaluable club development support, assisting myself at both junior and ‘adult learn to play’ coaching sections. When required Nicholas has on his own run ‘coaching sessions’ for the adults and is now highly regarded by club members.

Nicholas first involvement with table tennis was in Year 5 at Bishop Carpenter primary school, North Newington, attending the after-school club with myself as coach. He was always at practice and as others have dropped out, has remained ever present. He has played for Banbury NCL and local league teams and we expect him next season to spearhead the newly formed Shutford team in the Banbury League.

I’m proud of what Nicholas has achieved and in my experience is probably the best example of how table tennis has for the better, helped develop a young person’s character.

Following completion of his GCSEs Nicholas is now of age and wants to further progress from the YA scheme, helping other people by becoming a ‘proper coach’. He’s just signed up for a UKCC Level 1 course.

We want him to continue the good work at Shutford but also supporting Eddie Roofe with a new project at our BGN Academy, focusing on developing a squad of local primary school kids.

Keep enjoying playing Nicholas, still seek to improve your game and continue the great work supporting the Banbury Coaching scheme. Thanks to everyone involved with this journey!

Table Tennis England runs the Young Ambassador (YA) scheme to support and recognise young club volunteers to help clubs continue to grow and develop their membership base.

YAs log their volunteering hours and claim their incentives, including a bursary towards a UKCC Level 1 Coaching course and branding clothing.

Click here to find out more about the programme