East Kilbride man Mark Stringer had the honour of becoming the first recipient of sportscotland’s Young Volunteer of the Year award at a ceremony in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena last week.
Coming just months after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games, which highlighted the significance of volunteers in sport, the award is first of sportscotland’s nine coaching, officiating and volunteer awards to be issued in 2012.
The 24-year-old received his award as part of the Scotland’s Sporting Workforce event at the Emirates Arena in the presence of Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland, Laura Bartlett, Team GB Hockey player and bronze Olympic medallist, David Smith, Team ParalympicsGB Rowing and gold Paralympic medallist, and young people’s sport panel member, Hannah Jolly. Stringer was involved in the Olympics and Paralympics, officiating all field events, and he was one of two under 25 year olds from Scotland selected by UK athletics to officiate for the games.
And he said of his accolade: “I’m very excited to have this award. It means a lot as recognition for all that I’ve done for athletics over the years.
“The Olympics and Paralympics were of course a highlight of my volunteering and officiating career. It was great talking to famous athletes on the field, including Jessica Ennis and realising they’re just normal people there to do a job.
“One of the challenges faced in Scottish sport is getting younger volunteers involved.
“Many think officiating is for an older generation and that young people are the competitors but they’ve got it all wrong.
“I’m 24 and I’m having a great time volunteering my time in sport. It’s taken me to some really exciting competitions so far.”
Away from the track Stringer is a secondary school design technology teacher and the Young Volunteer of the Year spends most evenings at Whitemoss Amateur Athletics Club where he has been based for 12 years, working tirelessly as an enthusiastic coach and an official.
Described as irreplaceable by his peers at the club, Mark is running a course for those associated with Whitemoss AAC and neighbouring clubs, showing his commitment to developing a sustainable future for the club he loves.
Stringer’s ambition is to be involved in Glasgow 2014 and London’s 2017 World Athletics Championships.
Mark received a commemorative trophy, certificate and cheque for £300 towards his development to recognise his achievement.