Buckingham rugby coach 'overwhelmed' after nomination for coveted national award
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A Buckingham rugby coach said he was “overwhelmed” to receive a nomination for a national volunteering award.
Steve Weingart, 50, is a coach at Buckingham RUFC and has been shortlisted in the challenging spirit category at the Honda Volunteer of the Year awards after receiving regional recognition at a ceremony at Beaconsfield RFC last month.
The Honda Volunteer of the Year awards are part of the manufacturer’s volunteer recognition scheme honouring people who have made a great contribution to their club and community – no matter what their role.
Weingart received the challenging spirit award for Buckinghamshire to recognise his efforts for his local club across a variety of roles.
He joined the club as a junior player and has spent the past 10 years volunteering with the club’s third team, also helping to build Buckingham's social offerings.
He said: “You always feel that people do more than what you do, so I was surprised to be nominated.
“Then to win, I was actually very overwhelmed by it all. I was at the awards ceremony at Beaconsfield Rugby Club and it was all a bit surreal.
“All the nominees were sitting there and everybody's name was being called out to say thank you.
“They went through the top three – I was so surprised and shocked to win it.”
The Honda Volunteer Recognition Programme provides grassroots rugby clubs and sporting bodies with opportunities to recognise and reward the volunteers who make up an integral part of the game.
The awards recognise the local heroes who have had a major impact in their clubs and communities and demonstrated their commitment to the game over the past 12 months.
Representatives from teams, clubs, referees societies and educational establishments attend these events.
Alongside his management responsibilities for the third XV team, Weingart also took on coaching and managing the second XV side.
An important element of his management has been implementing the Game On framework, which has seen Weingart develop partnerships with other local clubs to ensure as many players as possible are getting game time every weekend.
But what has really driven the former full-back over the last year has been his commitment to the social aspect of rugby, which has seen him develop a thriving touch rugby section.
He has also taken on the role of bar manager at Buckingham’s clubhouse.
He added: “I made sure when I was managing the threes, that I had a relationship with the first team manager and got to know as many of their players as possible.
“I organised the social and that got us further together – we opened the lines of communication between all the teams because that was vitally important for everybody to get players.
“The social aspects are so important in rugby.”