A Lincoln rugby player’s transformative impact on her local club has been recognised nationally in the form of a prestigious award presented at Twickenham Stadium.
Jodie Hill was presented with the Unsung Hero award at the Honda Volunteer of the Year Awards in recognition for her countless hours of service to Lincoln RFC.
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 Unsung Hero award recognises an individual or group of volunteers that have gone above and beyond to provide positive experiences, enhance member enjoyment and ensure their club is fit for the future.
Hill became chair of Lincoln during the Covid-19 pandemic and has embraced the role with open arms in her quest to make it a family-friendly rugby hub.
She is also the women’s team manager as well as the men’s team fixture secretary, meaning she spends many hours devoted to the club alongside her demanding role as head of education at an alternative education provider.
The 28-year-old’s efforts were honoured alongside other fellow volunteers across the country, and Hill admits she could not believe she had won one of the top prizes.
“I wasn’t there expecting to win in the slightest, I was just there to experience the day as a whole,” said Hill, who received her award from TV presenter & broadcaster Alex Payne.
“It was really nice to be around like-minded people and network, get to know people’s volunteer stories, what they do for their clubs and make new friends around the area.
“The food was really good – you can tell I’m a rugby player talking about the food!
“The feeling of winning the award was just amazing. I tried to scurry off the stage quickly so I didn’t have to speak but then I realised I had to!
“I didn’t even know what to say - I was just beaming from ear to ear with pride. It was such an overwhelming experience.”
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.
It brings the opportunity to thank those who have gone above and beyond this year for teams, clubs, referees societies and educational establishments.
Hill originally arrived at the club as a player after being brought down by her partner, having previously played netball.
Having swapped the court for contact, Hill has never looked back and has thrown herself into every facet of the club, steadily rising through the ranks to become chair.
And while the role means her weekends and lunchtimes are almost entirely devoted to the club alongside her busy job, Hill says she would not change it for the world.
She added: “Just seeing the smiles on people’s faces makes it worth it, knowing you’ve had that impact on bringing the club together.
“Putting back and showing that you don’t have to play rugby to be part of a rugby club, we’re like a family.
“There’s a real family feel, it’s the people that make it. Volunteering and the rugby club itself wouldn’t be where it is without the people.
“I can’t say a bad word about anybody at the rugby club, everyone mucks in together and it’s one big family.”
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
Honda (UK) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda (Japan). One of the top 20 brands in the world, Honda manufacturers a broad product range encompassing cars, motorcycles, power products (including marine, energy, lawn and garden and ATV) and aviation and was the first Japanese automobile manufacturer to release a dedicated luxury brand, Acura, in 1986.
Honda has been the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, as well as the world's largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more than 14 million internal combustion engines each year.
Since 1986, Honda has been involved with artificial intelligence/robotics research and released their ASIMO robot in 2000. Honda has also ventured into aerospace with the establishment of GE Honda Aero Engines in 2004 and the Honda HA-420 HondaJet, which began production in 2012.
Honda has over 55 years of World Championship Racing. Today, Honda is an active participant in motorcycle, touring car and ATV racing and draws upon its proud racing heritage in every aspect of business.
For more media information, visit https://hondanews.eu/gb