Community Recognition Awards 2023 | Glasgow South winners announced
The 2023 Scottish Rugby Community Recognition Award winners from the Glasgow South region have today been announced following their presentation on Friday 3 March.
The Community Recognition Awards are Scottish Rugby’s annual domestic game awards programme, focusing on the on and off-field efforts of clubs and schools across Scotland over the course of the season.
Awards winners were announced for six categories including; Volunteer of the Season in Youth rugby sponsored by inspiresport, Volunteer of the Season in Schools rugby sponsored by inspiresport, Volunteer of the Season in Adult rugby sponsored by Tennent’s Lager, Young Person’s Award sponsored by inspiresport, Community Club of the Season sponsored by Tennent’s Lager, and the Community Match Official of the Season.
An additional award, the Adam Gray Memorial Award was presented at the event. This award was created in memory of former Scottish Rugby Board and Council member and Stewartry rugby stalwart Adam Gray, who passed away in March 2020. The award aims to recognise those who have shown an outstanding contribution to the game in the region.
Each winner was invited to hospitality at the recent Glasgow Warriors fixture against Zebre at Scotstoun stadium, receiving a personalised trophy and prize.
Scottish Rugby Regional Director for the Glasgow South region, Al Falconer said: “Our region is fortunate to have so many fantastic, hardworking and committed volunteers who willingly give their time and effort to clubs, schools and local community across Glasgow South.
“The individuals and groups recognised in this year’s awards have truly been a beacon of light and exemplify the values of our sport.”
Scottish Rugby President, Colin Rigby added: “As we approach the end of the domestic season, it is really important that we recognise and share our gratitude to the countless volunteers within our sport who make what we do not only possible, but special, fun and enjoyable.
“We received hundreds of applications to the Community Recognition Awards this year, and I know it was a tough job for the regional panels to narrow it down to the winners, but it goes to show how many people in Scottish rugby are noticed and appreciated for all they do, and I for one cannot thank them enough.”
The respective award winners and nominees are listed below:
Community Club of the Season sponsored by Tennent’s Lager: Moffat RFC
In the 29 years since Moffat RFC was founded, the impact the club has had on the community to promote wellbeing and inclusion has been profound.
The club prides themselves on operating as a family orientated club fully integrated into the life and fabric of the community, both on and off the pitch.
The Dumfriesshire-based club now deliver rugby for men, women, girls and boys, with their volunteer base working tirelessly to ensure that every player’s needs are met, particularly those in the youth and mini section.
The club has most recently started to work with local schools, showcasing the power of rugby for mental and physical wellbeing, and inclusion. Their work to engage the schools has led to the development of a rugby programme at Moffat Academy and Lockerbie Academy, and now section rugby is being offered at each year group for girls and boys.
Off the pitch, Moffat have been engaged in many community initiatives including food banks drives and making contributions to local events and charitable organisations, including an East egg hunt, Santa’s Grotto and Halloween Drive
Volunteer of the Season in Youth Rugby sponsored by inspirepsort: David Irvine (Wigtownshire RFC)
David Irvine of Wigtownshire Rugby Club has been described by his club as “the heart and soul of Wigtownshire’s girls’ section”.
Having coached across the club for a number of years, he has most recently taken on the development of girls rugby in Stranraer.
The club numbers and activity of girls’ rugby have increased significantly since David came on board, and the results have also been following as David most recently led the U16 girls to win the Glasgow South Aspiring League.
David has been dedicating his time upwards of between four nights a week to supporting the growth and development of the girls section at Wigtownshire, and has also been helping coordinate sessions with the women’s team to allow girls to make a smooth and steady transition into senior rugby. This has also seen him promoted to the women’s Assistant Coach role.
When he isn’t coaching, David is coordinating transport and often driving the mini-bus himself to get the players to their games.
Speaking about David’s impact at the club Neve Finlay, Development Officer at the club said: “David is the most selfless and dedicated person I’ve ever seen. He gives up so much of his own time to help grow the girls game. He is so positive, and for the girls to have as a coach and role model as inspiration as him to look up to is really special.
“He truly is an amazing person with so much to give to the women’s and girls’ game, we are very lucky to have him.”
Volunteer of the Season in Adult rugby sponsored by Tennent’s Lager: Matthew Wallace (Bishopton Rugby)
Matthew Wallace wears many different hats at the Bishopton Rugby – social convenor, player, groundskeeper, and community champion – which has earned him the Volunteer of the Season in Adult rugby.
The club stalwart has been involved for countless years as a player and volunteer, and his efforts to keep the pitches in working order and provide support behind the scenes across the last year alone have not gone unnoticed.
Taking inspiration from the Men’s Shed movement, the hooker has also established an over 35s touch rugby team after lockdown to bring in former players and other people from the community with the idea of providing a network of support. The group now runs every Tuesday, and the players are seeing the positive mental and physical benefits of engaging.
Speaking about Matthew, Robert Moore from Bishopton said: “Matthew is not only a founding member of our young, bright, and ever evolving club; he practically single handily keeps the lights on.
“He is probably the most dependable person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. No task is too big in his opinion, and they all start with an idea. Matt won’t let it stay as an idea for long. He gets it done.”
Volunteer of the Season in Schools rugby sponsored by inspiresport: Sam Christian (Marr College)
Sam Christian of Marr College is this year’s winner of the Volunteer of the Season in Schools rugby for his contribution as a coach and role model to his peers.
The 16-year-old S5 pupil has been involved with coaching at Marr College and Marr RFC since he was a third-year pupil.
Sam is now assisting Rugby Development Officer, Colin Sturgeon, with S1 and S2 extra-curricular rugby every Monday, with more than 160 pupils involved in the programme. Sam’s assistance allows for the S2 squad to be split into groups, where he has been assigned a group to lead.
Speaking about Sam’s contribution to rugby, Colin said: “Sam is someone that can always be relied on. He is a fantastic role model to the young people he works with, whether that be on the pitch or around the school.
“I am incredibly grateful to Sam for all his work to assist our rugby programme. Having his regular assistance allows me to provide all our young players with regular playing and training opportunities. It can’t be understated the level of impact he has on our programme and players.
“Sam has a fantastic repour with the kids which he has built up over the last couple of years. His confidence has grown, and he is now comfortable leading on groups in both drills and games.”
Young Person’s Award sponsored by inspiresport: Rory McEwan (Kilmarnock RFC)
At just 16-years of age, Rory McEwan of Kilmarnock RFC is already making a big mark on the coaching scene.
After making the decision to stop playing, Rory has refocused all of his passion for rugby into developing other players as a coach.
Following the competition of his Rugby Essentials, Mini Rugby Referee and First Aid courses with Scottish Rugby, Rory began coaching the S1 age groups at Kilmarnock and Grange Academy.
During this time as a coach, Rory has been described as someone who has “developed excellent knowledge and understanding of the game and how to coach, making sure that he is getting the best from the player.”
Margaret Anne Arnott’s son is coached by Rory, and believes he is having a genuinely positive impact on the players he works with. Speaking about the young leader, she said: “I have also seen a change in Rory over the last three years and have seen him grow in confidence, have seen his enthusiasm grow for the game, which spreads out to the players in his team.
“I am delighted to be nominating him for his dedication to the club and to coaching the boys. I wish all coaches were like him; hard-working, respectful, dedicated, happy and loves rugby.”
Match Official of the Season: Allan Wilson (Irvine RFC)
Allan Wilson of Irvine RFC has been awarded the Match Official of the Season for the West region for his advocacy of refereeing and support of local events and a match official.
Allan spends great deal of his time supporting Scottish Rugby events in his region, allocating match officials to cover the Girls’ Evolution Series and Women’s Aspiring Leagues with the West Referee Society.
The 67-year-old is also the President and Club Coach Coordinator, and yet he still always finds the time to grab the whistle and facilitate a game last minute if needed to.
Speaking about Allan and his contributions as a match official, a spokesperson from the club said: “Allan and the West Referee Society go above and beyond to support everyone in the Glasgow South region, not just Irvine. As the saying goes, there is no match without a referee, and the same can be said for Allan. There is no rugby without him.”
The Adam Gray Memorial Award: Gary Coupland (Annan Rugby)
Gary Coupland of Annan has been recognised for this 40 plus years of service to the Dumfries based rugby club, picking up the Adam Gray Memorial Award.
As part of the prize giving ceremony, Gary was invited to present the match ball at the Glasgow v Zebre fixture.
Over the duration of his time with Annan Gary has been a player, coach, committee member and President. Starting out as a player in the 1980s, his passion for the club has endured, long after he hung up his boots.
The 61-year-old has been credited as the “driving force in helping Annan Rugby evolve into the inclusive club it is today”, by current President, Neil Moffat.
From instigating the revival of a youth section, initially with the formation of a boys’ team, Gary has since gone on to facilitate the introduction of mini/micro rugby to create a complete pathway into women and girls’ rugby.
In addition to this, Gary has also volunteered a significant amount of time delivering coaching to local primary and secondary schools to introduce the sport to more young people in the community. This work has since created additional delivery and development opportunities including work with Dumfries and Galloway’s Active Schools Programme, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, and the Young Leaders programme.
Gary’s contributions and influences are not reserved for participation in the sport, his love and support reach wider than this.
Neil added: “Gary is eager to support causes close to his wide-reaching rugby family, participating in awareness and fundraising events for Looseheadz and My Name’5 Doddie. Even after his retirement as Club President, Gary was driving the support vehicle for Annan Rugby’s team of riders participating in the Doddie Cup 500.
“Gary’s willingness to lead change and his infectious and all-encompassing enthusiasm for all matters rugby, will undoubtedly be his legacy in years to come as the club continues to grow.”