Award winning Retford club’s brush with royalty

Prince Edward, Lucy Palfreyman from Retford Swimming Club and Lee Hughes from GB Group
Prince Edward, Lucy Palfreyman from Retford Swimming Club and Lee Hughes from GB Group

Retford Swimming Club had a brush with royalty, as they won a prestigious national award at a ceremony in St James’s Palace in London.

The the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s president, HRH The Earl of Wessex, presented the club with the Volunteer Management Award sponsored by GBGroup, on 9th July.

This award celebrates the club, programme or scheme from across the country that makes the most of their volunteers – offering them training, skills and rewards to recognise them for all the hard work, time and effort that they contribute.

Founded in 1896, Retford Swimming Club (RSC) has been a huge part of the community for decades and now caters for 164 swimmers from 124 local families, all supported by a thriving network of volunteer helpers.

RSC clinched victory in the Community Sport and Recreation Awards for their commitment to developing their enthusiastic volunteer workforce across all aspects of the club’s operation.

The club’s superstar volunteers also raised over £5,500 for the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice by organising and completing a 24 hour swimming marathon.

Simon Ferrarelli, director of swimming at Retford Swimming Club, said: “Like most community based sports clubs, we are reliant on the support of our volunteers.”

“We have actively pursued a policy over the last few years to increase the involvement of volunteers, both young and old.”

“Most families who have a swimmer at the club get involved in one capacity or another.”

“Dad might help out running galas, mum might have taken a judging qualification to help officiate at galas and the teenager might help out with coaching on poolside.”

“Most important to our long-term success has been the way in which we have built our team of young volunteers.

“I’m delighted with the award. It is a fantastic endorsement of our approach and will enable us to further build and develop our team of volunteers and give them the support they deserve.”

Lucy Palfreyman has not only contributed to her swimming club, but benefitted from their volunteer centric ideology.

The 17-year-old club captain said: “Whilst I was still competing I started helping out on poolside and I now run coaching sessions for the younger swimmers.”

“This has really helped me with my PE studies and also convinced me that I want to get into the Sports Science area.

“As a result of my involvement with the club, earlier this year I was selected to join the Amateur Swimming Association National Youth Forum – a body designed to involve young volunteers in a range of aquatic issues.”

“It’s great experience and I hope to stay involved with the sport for many years to come.”

Sallie Barker, interim chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, added her congratulations to the club.

She said: “This award recognises the fantastic example that Retford Swimming Club sets in how it recruits and supports its volunteers.”

“Retford Swimming Club is an excellent example of a club that has embraced volunteers and helped them develop their skills to ensure the club continues to go from strength to strength.”