Arthur Crabtree, a player, fundraiser, and coach at the club, has been nominated in the Connecting the Community category and will now head to the national final at Twickenham in September when volunteers from across the country are celebrated as part of Honda’s Volunteer Recognition Programme.
Three overall winners will be announced on the evening for each of this year’s categories: Unsung Hero, Connecting the Community and Game for All, which recognises volunteers who have provided an inspirational and diverse offer to engage with their local community.
Crabtree, 35, started volunteering at the club 17yrs ago, during the pandemic this expandedto helping run their local food bank and set up a crowdfunder to prevent flooding in the area.
And on the rugby side, he also organised coaching for underprivileged children in partnership with the RFU as well as various fundraisers for charities.
Speaking at the regional Lancashire RFU CB award ceremony, Crabtree said: “It’s very humbling. I really appreciate it and thank everyone for the honour. It was touching that a friend and peer saw what I was doing for the community.
“It’s always great for people to give back – I tried to encourage those who had a lot of time on their hands, especially if they were at home in the pandemic, to try and do as much as they could and help those who were less fortunate.
“It’s trying to get the kids into the sport and especially after Covid, getting them out and about.
“As lockdown finished, we had about 40 kids in the U6s and it’s great to see that new generation find the enjoyment of sport. It shows how rugby can help kids not only fitness wise but through the community as well.”
The Honda Volunteer Recognition Programme brings the opportunity to thank those who have gone above and beyond this year for teams, clubs, referees’ societies, and educational establishments.
With Honda recently coming on board as a partner, and supporting volunteering in the grassroots game, this year’s Awards will help to recognise and celebrate volunteers for their achievements and efforts, both on and off the field.
Speaking about the awards, RFU President HH Jeff Blackett said: “I am delighted that through the Honda Volunteer Recognition Programme, we are able to recognise the exceptional work that has gone into getting Rugby Clubs back up and running over the last year. There are so many outstanding volunteers who have really made a difference and the Honda Volunteer of the Year awards provides a great opportunity to say thank you.”
Jean-Marc Streng, President Honda UK, added: “Honda was built upon the Power of Dreams, that same challenging spirit can be found in abundance at local Rugby clubs up and down the country. “Honda UK is proud to help recognise the volunteers who work tirelessly to support their local Rugby communities.
Over 100,000 volunteers give back to grassroots rugby, week in, week out. From the kit washers to the line painters, the bus drivers to the tea makers, the game that we all know, and love wouldn’t be the same without the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes.”
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