Grundie receives top volunteer award

NICS and Ards’ man Gareth Grundie was one of 11 volunteers who was honoured this week as making an outstanding contribution to sport in Ireland.

He was named on the list at the National Awards to Volunteers in Irish Sports at a ceremony in the Aviva Stadium this week which also included Gerry Fleming, coach and head man in Neilstown boxing club, home to Olympic silver medalist Kenny Egan.

Grundie was a player-coach with Northern Ireland Civil Service Mens (NICSM) and a coach to Ards Ladies for several years. He regularly turns out for sessions with NICSM on Mondays and Wednesdays whilst Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for Ards with Saturdays seeing him attending the Ards’ fixture prior to lining out for Service.

In the qualifying period, Grundie helped Ards become one of the contenders in Ulster, finishing third in the Premier League while NICS won the Irish Trophy (2010) as well as Senior One, an effort which saw him nominated for an IHA award.

The ‘National Awards to Volunteers in Irish Sports’, celebrates the contributions of volunteers to Irish sport. There are over 400,000 people throughout the country who voluntarily dedicate their time every year through their involvement with sports clubs and organisations.

The national awards are an initiative of the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport in conjunction with the Federation of Irish Sports, which represents some 68 sports in Ireland. The scheme is also supported by the Community Foundation of Ireland and the Irish Sports Council.

The award winners were selected by a committee chaired by Olympic Gold Medal Winner, Ronnie Delany, alongside representatives from the Federation of Irish Sports, Irish Sports Council, The Irish Times, RTÉ and the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport.

Speaking at the awards, Sarah O’Connor, Chief Executive of the Federation of Irish Sports and Old Alex club member, said:
“The vast number of hours devoted by volunteers is invaluable to sport in this country, and it is great that we are able to recognise some of the individuals involved here today.

“It is important that we are aware of the contributions made by so many people who freely offer time and expertise right around the country every week. This voluntary investment has been estimated to have an economic value equivalent of between €322 million and €582 million each year.

“Even more important, however, is the reality that without this voluntary investment in sport by so many there simply would not be the same opportunities for the 1.7 million Irish people who actively participate in Irish sport, nor indeed would we have the many success stories that Irish Sport continues to produce year on year.”

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