AVON Valley Runners’ chairman Warren Wade has added his praise to the three members of the club recognised in the 2020 England Athletics South West Volunteer Awards, writes Kevin Fahey.

Jay Sims-Bagshaw, Holly Newman and David Hyde were named among the 18 prize winners at the recent Zoom conference call, making the club the best represented not just in Wiltshire but across the whole south west region.

Sims-Bagshaw was named Run Leader of the Year for 2020, Newman won the Young Volunteer of the Year award and Hyde finished runner-up in the Volunteer of the Year section.

“To make the short-list was a tremendous achievement for our club, but to then have two winners and a runner-up place is tremendous,” said Wade.

“It makes you feel very proud and suggests we are doing something right.”

The news is a certainly a timely and much deserved boost for this popular club that is celebrating its 35th anniversary in January.

From humble origins, born out of Trowbridge AC with Judy and the greatly missed Stan Farr among the founders, AVR has grown into a highly successful operation with some top athletes making their mark across the South West like Ruth Barnes, Ed Knudsen, Mike Towler and junior Max Davis.

“We have a very strong committee and a great team who have stepped forward to help out in these tough times and that is why we have survived,” added Wade.

“We have to adapt to try and keep things going as normally as they possibly can in these times, and it has worked well.

“But we are always looking at ways to drive the club forward but without every forgetting those people who were with us at the start.

“We have a number of life members who joined us in the 1980s and we never forget their interests or what they have done for the club.”

That sense of inclusiveness has certainly served AVR well but Wade is now preparing to hand over the reins.

“I’ve been on the committee for nine years, and chairman for the past six, so I’m stepping down at the next AGM,” he added.