Sporting parents allow for proper coaching

THINK of volunteering and one generally thinks of charity work, but there are many other activities in the community that rely heavily on people giving up their time – none more so than sport.

Michelle Galpin, left, and Linda Moroney began volunteering for Guernsey Athletics when their children became involved and have continued. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29622279)
Michelle Galpin, left, and Linda Moroney began volunteering for Guernsey Athletics when their children became involved and have continued. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29622279)

Michelle Galpin and Linda Moroney both volunteered to help out at Guernsey Athletics Club five years ago when their children got involved in the sport, but if that was the spur to volunteer, it is certainly not a requirement.

‘Both my children have now stopped athletics so it’s just me that’s remained involved,’ Mrs Moroney said, ‘but it’s nice being part of something and it is quite a community.’

About 50 people give up their time to help run the club’s calendar of events, including marshalling for road races and staffing hot drinks tables at Footes Lane. However, some roles can become more specialised.

When the club decided to start recording its members’ achievements on British Athletics’ Power of 10 website, athletics development officer Tom Druce announced he needed help.

‘Tom asked for volunteers from the parents of athletes if we would be prepared to do some training to be officials,’ Mrs Galpin said.

As a result, performances on the island can now be treated as official for the purposes of rankings and records.

While Mrs Galpin has specialised in track events, Mrs Moroney has taken to the field for the throwing and jumping. Both require health and safety training – especially essential when the javelin is under way, they pointed out.

The volunteering has taken them on trips to Hampshire for county events and their qualifications have proved unexpectedly useful at times, such as when Mrs Galpin went to the Gibraltar Island Games as a spectator, only to end up officiating ‘because they were a bit short’.

On Tuesday, the club was featured in a UK Athletics website feature about Volunteers Week.

Mr Druce said volunteers did not seek such attention but it was nevertheless nice for their efforts to be recognised.

‘We wouldn’t be able to coach athletes appropriately if we didn’t have people who are willing to give up their time for free,’ he said.

‘We can always benefit from having more people on board to help events run more smoothly.’

. Anyone interested in getting involved should email tom.druce@guernseyathletics.org.gg

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