The 2018 Annual Award Winners
17th April 2018
The National Cup Finals weekend doesn't just see prizes handed out to the competing teams. As part of the showpiece events, this year's eight Annual Award winners were there to collect their trophies for their incredible dedication and passion for the sport.
The winners received their honours on the Saturday of the event in front of the packed crowd and then as very special guests formed part of the presentation parties for the weekend's Shield and Cup Finals.
Here we meet the eight winners and find out what makes them so deserving - in the words of the people who nominated them:
Young Coach of the Year: Michelle Mellott
Across the University of Nottingham Volleyball Club, Michelle is known as someone with great volleyball knowledge who is always eager to help any player with their skills. Michelle originally started coaching the beginners but has since gone above and beyond to develop the whole club, including dedicating countless hours voluntarily coaching both the mens and womens development teams and the womens second team. Providing each team with a friendly, safe environment to build on their skills, through her coaching Michelle has helped many players at the club vastly improve.
Young Volunteer of the Year: Sophie Szyszko
Sophie has been an incredible ambassador for volleyball throughout her four years at Durham University. Amongst a long list achievements and service described as ‘nothing short of exemplary’, Sophie has been instrumental in building community links for volleyball, particularly an annual 6-week PE block with a local primary school, increasing the number of BUCS teams at Durham, ensuring the long-term survival of the intra-mural volleyball league at the university and promoting the inclusion of volleyball facilities within Durham's new sports build. A continuous inspiration in many different areas of volleyball, Sophie’s contribution to volleyball at Durham University has been ‘exceptional’.
HEVO of the Year: Timothy Baetiong
Tim has been described as ‘a breath of fresh air for volleyball’ at Anglia Ruskin University’s Chelmsford campus. In his role as a HEVO, thanks to his friendly nature and enthusiasm for the game, Tim has helped coordinate weekly recreational sessions, and a 4v4 league, which has seen an increase in participation numbers. He has also successfully bridged the gap by developing a pathway way from the recreational sessions and the Men's BUCS team offering competitive opportunities to everyone. Beyond the campus, Tim has also excelled in forging fruitful links with the local volleyball community, providing more opportunities for people to get involved with volleyball. Leading by example and upholding the highest standards of performance and behaviour, Tim is described as ‘an outstanding role model’ for future HEVOs.
Long Service Award: Gary Burton
Gary’s highly valued and sustained contribution to volleyball includes, at a glance, being a player from club to international level, a coach from beginner to NVL Div. 1 and a coach advisor for many clubs, past and present. Having had (and continuing to have) a huge impact on many clubs, Gary is always there to help, guide and advise on the changes in the game over the years. Described as ‘dedicated’, providing ‘endless encouragement’ and as everyone’s ‘go to man’ for sorting out problems, Gary will always offer to pick up his trainers to support any club.
Referee of the Year: Ian Cheesbrough
As senior referee with many years’ experience, Ian continues to make himself available for NVL nominations and has been appointed to an impressive 36 matches this season. He also referees in the BUCS championship on a weekly basis, showing his considerable and consistent commitment to volleyball. In addition, Ian utilises his experience to support other referees in their development, which is demonstrated by the fact that he has the confidence of the Officials Working Group to help progress referees he is appointed with and offer points for their development.
Club of the Year: York Volleyball Club
With over 100 regular members, York Volleyball Club field eight teams playing in competitive leagues which allow people to take part in volleyball training sessions each week. Underpinning the teams and making everything possible are the committed and dedicated 15+ volunteers who give their time each week to coach, manage teams, referee and score.
Beyond the league teams, York Volleyball Club run popular recreational outdoor sessions during the summer months, have played a major role in restarting, supporting and coaching the Yorkshire Junior Talent Pathway, host VolleyFest, an outdoor grass tournament open to 40 mixed, mens and junior teams and support the local community by running volleyball and sitting volleyball sessions for disadvantaged groups in the City, including young carers, refugee groups and people with mental and physical disabilities.
Volunteer of the Year: Adrian Stores
After establishing Stockport Volleyball Club two years ago as a newcomer to the sport, Adrian has been instrumental in creating thriving able and disabled programmes, a flourishing junior section, community adult sessions and an NVL squad at the club. Holding the posts of Chair and Club Welfare Officer, Adrian also invests time to run activities in the borough every Tuesday and Thursday Night and matches at weekends, in addition to club development, marketing, managing the finances and administration. He has also led sitting volleyball lessons for some of the most severely disabled members of society in Stockport.
Coach of the Year Award: Alex Chevau
As the coach of the first women's beach volleyball pair to compete at the Commonwealth Games, Alex has volunteered countless hours in coaching Vicky Palmer and Jess Grimson to reach the Gold Coast. A grand achievement in itself, all this was only in Alex’s second season of coaching the girls on the sand and was done without funding, without a programme and on a voluntary basis. Described as committed to upholding morals and etiquette both on court and in training, Alex is also athlete centred and always ensures his players are facilitated as best as possible.