Didsbury rugby player receives national recognition for volunteering efforts

Didsbury's Arthur Crabtree received his award at the Honda Volunteer of the Year Awards at Twickenham.
Didsbury's Arthur Crabtree received his award at the Honda Volunteer of the Year Awards at Twickenham.

A Didsbury rugby player is urging more people in the sport’s community to volunteer after receiving national recognition for his efforts.

Didsbury Toc H RFC member Arthur Crabtree, 35, won the Connecting the Community award at the Honda Volunteer of the Year Awards at Twickenham, hosted by TV presenter & broadcaster Alex Payne.

The Honda Volunteer of the Year awards are part of the Honda Volunteer Recognition Programme which provides a platform to recognise the volunteers who make up such an integral part of the game and who have made a great contribution to their club and community – no matter what their role.

The Connecting the Community award recognises an individual or a group of volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution and had significant impact within their local community.

And Arthur played an instrumental role in this department throughout the early stages of the pandemic, volunteering at a local soup kitchen and encouraging collections for food banks, as well as leading the clean-up of the club’s facilities after flooding.

Having been recognised at a local and national level for his work, he now wants more people in the rugby community to make a difference in their local community.

He said: “I think we that we should give back when we can. Both on a club level and in the community, it’s important to have those volunteers there to help out week in, week out, as rugby is volunteer-led. We need people to give up their time and put in that effort; from getting the kids out on a Sunday morning through to feeding the players on a Sunday afternoon.”

“From myself it’s more about just trying to get the next generation involved, from trying to get them to take some ownership of the club and getting them to take on some of the roles. To showing them what we are doing and see how they can help.”

The Honda Volunteer of the Year Awards recognise the local heroes who have had a major impact in their clubs and communities and demonstrated their commitment to the game over the past 12 months.

Jodie Hill, Will Gilgrass and Arthur Crabtree were all recognised at the awards ceremony held at Twickenham.
Jodie Hill, Will Gilgrass and Arthur Crabtree were all recognised at the awards ceremony held at Twickenham.

It brings the opportunity to thank those who have gone above and beyond this year for teams, clubs, referees societies and educational establishments.

Arthur won nationally after previously winning a local category in the Honda Volunteer of the Year Awards, and revelled in getting the chance to attend the main ceremony at Twickenham.

He added: “Initially it started out as a huge honour from the club. We’re nominated by our peers, so it was our club captain who nominated me for the award.

“It was recognition from club level, and then that progressed as an even bigger honour, especially when I saw the other nominees and hearing their stories.

“The ceremony at Twickenham was an amazing experience. I brought my little brother across for the day part. It’s the first time he’d been to any kind of rugby stadium before.

“The talk from Maggie [Alphonsi] was amazing, talking about moving through grassroots all the way to winning the World Cup, and then the evening do was just such a great event, meeting some of the other nominees.”

RFU President, Nigel Gillingham, added: “I am delighted that we are able to recognise our volunteers at the Honda Volunteer of the Year Awards.

“The event provides us with an excellent opportunity to thank them for all that they have done.

“Those attending represent a wider army of volunteers nationwide, the very best of our sport, who exemplify our core values of Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship.”

Volunteers are the backbone of grassroots rugby in England. If you’d like to get involved and make a difference at your community club, visit: www.englandrugby.com/volunteering