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Would you believe it!

One of the factors that makes Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club a vibrant and successful club is the quality of the volunteers who help to run it! It is important to recognize and celebrate those who give their time and efforts to ensure that something works to the benefit of all. As a club we are truly blessed by a splendid band of volunteers who 'make it happen' at Marine. Our volunteers include our Management Committee, our team captains, our social organizers and fund raisers, those who make the tea, and those that look after the maintenance of our table tennis room. Without such a wonderful band of helpers the club simply wouldn't function.

On Monday last, Club Secretary, Graham Turner, was attending the inaugural City of Liverpool Sports and Physical Activity Awards evening, at St George's Hall in Liverpool. The event was arranged by Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Sports Forum to celebrate achievement in sport and physical activity and the role which volunteers play in promoting, encouraging and supporting sport and physical activity. You should have seen his face when it was announced that he was being awarded the 'Volunteer of the Year' award in connection with his participation in Bath Street Marine TTC and table tennis at the Anfield Sports Centre!

In announcing the award, Chairman of the Liverpool Spots Forum, Stuart Wade, said "Graham is an avid table tennis player, and is very involved with Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club. In Ping! Liverpool’s 2016 summer festival, Graham came on board as a volunteer. He was a very active volunteer and attended every event Ping! Liverpool held. Ping! Liverpool’s Summer Festival may have finished, but Graham had only just started. In addition to being heavily involved with Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club Graham attended the adults social session at Anfield Sports and Community Centre, encouraging a large number or participants to attend; helped the delivery staff with setting up equipment, recruitment of participants and taking registers. His help didn’t stop there - he then heavily supported a newly established Junior League successfully run on a bigger scale than it ran in its previous year. On the back of Graham’s support, it built capacity in ASCC’s staff team to start a Junior Table Tennis Club for Under 16’s which now attracts approx 20 young people each Friday night which now has 8 young people in the Liverpool and District Table Tennis League Junior Development Division, none of whom have ever played competitive table tennis before. Finally, he initiated an adults Monday night social session to keep table tennis players ticking over during the summer while the League had a summer break, and also to secure the venue booking for the start of the next Liverpool Junior League season. Graham returned as a volunteer to Ping! Liverpool’s Summer Festival in 2017, again attending all the events to support Ping! staff, promote the benefits of table tennis and fully embodied the spirit of Ping! More recently, Graham has had a hospital stay, due to heart trouble and was out of action from playing for some weeks, but has used the volunteering and assisting coaching as part of his rehabilitation and is now on the road to full recovery. Graham's commitment has never wavered."

On hearing such comments, the shock on Graham's face was obvious! Despite the slight embarrassment there is no doubt that it is a great encouragement when there is recognition of voluntary service. The whole evening gave a great insight into the tremendous work of so many people who volunteer their time to encourage and develop their sport or physical activity, and it was really good to see this being recognized and celebrated.

At Bath Street Marine TTC we are proud to acknowledge and celebrate all of our volunteers. It is their efforts that 'make it happen' at Marine week by week.

'Volunteer of the Year Award' presented to Graham by Bob Poynton of Liverpool Sports Forum.

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