Tom Hildreth of Newton-on-Ouse, Head Coach of Ripon VX Club was the proud recipient of two Highly Commended Awards at the 2014 Harrogate District Volunteer Oscars.
Tom was rewarded primarily for his efforts with the club. He has been Head Coach since the club was founded and although he doesn’t live locally, each week he drives a round trip of over an hour to run the Ripon Club, taking no money to cover expenses despite the financial sacrifices he has made for the sport. Under his guidance the club has grown to the point where it is recognised as one of the leading clubs in the sport. As a number of players left for university last year Ripon have had to rebuild and at the beginning of the season were candidates for relegation, however under Tom’s guidance they qualified for the National Championships where they did enough to qualify for the UK Club Championships were they fought a hard battle to clinch the runner-up spot. As well as this Ripon also managed to grab the runner-up slot at the National Knockout Tournament.
Tom is a leading figure in the development of VX. As well as his work with Ripon he was instrumental in its adoption by the ATC, runs a number of after-school clubs in the Ripon area of North Yorkshire and was made tactics coach for the England VX squad. As well as excelling in his chosen sport he has personally made many sacrifices, including financial, to promote it, having a particular impact in the Ripon area.
Tom received the award in recognition of the fact that he has sacrificed a lot of earning power to dedicate himself to the development of his chosen sport working full time for very little money. Unlike his counterparts in more well-known sports he doesn’t get the recognition or remuneration for his sacrifice and efforts. His dedication and the amount of work he does for free to involve youngsters and further develop his chosen sport is amazing in one so young. Indeed, apart from the nominees in the ‘Young Volunteer’ category, Tom was by far the youngest volunteer present, which is indicative of the opportunities and responsibilities available to young people in the young sport of VX.
Tom was delighted with the awards: “That was a wonderful surprise – and to be called up twice was an even greater surprise. It’s great that the impact of VX in the community is being recognised. I am proud to be part of a sport that is inclusive, is totally mixed and promotes honesty, integrity and sportsmanship.”