A HARD-WORKING Yate coach who took a club from the brink of closure to one which produces elite players has been named as a finalist for a national award.

Penny Shears of Yate Racketeers, has been named as a finalist for the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s 2024 Community Sport and Recreation Awards.

The nationally recognised awards, which are being hosted at Headingly Stadium in Leeds on Friday, March 8, to celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations involved in grassroots sport and recreation.

During her three and a half decades at Yate Racketeers, Penny has taken the club from the brink of closure to a community club producing players who often go on to play the sport at a senior and elite level.

Gazette Series: Penny Shears of Yate Racketeers has been named as a finalist for a national awardHer hard work has seen her gain a coaching qualification so she can help teach youngsters, and every year she runs an annual badminton tournament.

Run exclusively by volunteers, the tournament allows those who haven’t played competitively before to have the opportunity to play and experience the benefits of the sport.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Alliance CEO, Lisa Wainwright CEO, congratulated all the nominees: “The Community Sport and Recreation Awards are a highlight of my year, where we get to recognise and reward the amazing work of people and organisations who contribute so much to sport and recreation and – in doing so – contribute so much to communities across the country. 

"It is vitally important to us that we continue to celebrate these initiatives, given the significant societal benefits they bring, from mental health to inclusion and from sustainability to creating thriving places to live.

“I want to congratulate all the nominees on their fantastic achievements – the finalists have all done incredible work this year, and grassroots sport and recreation benefits immensely from their efforts.”