The fantastic work of Bath Rugby Foundation was celebrated last night at the Bath Chronicle Sports Awards, with three coaches recognised at the glittering event.
Senior Coach, Becks Toan, won the prestigious Coach of the Year award for her tireless and enthusiastic inclusion work, and was given a standing ovation by many of the 250 guests following her passionate acceptance speech where she spoke of how Bath Rugby Foundation changed her life.
In a few years Becks has gone from being a participant on one of the Foundation's employment programmes to being a senior coach specialising in inclusion. Becks has reached hundreds of young people with her coaching and shared the confidence-building power of sport with youngsters who would otherwise not have been able to take part.
Rob Pickup – also a senior coach - is celebrating after Bath Rugby Ladies, who he coaches in his free time, won the Senior Team of the Year Award. Rob coaches the club's second team and said he was proud to be a coach in an era that was actively encouraging more women and girls to be involved in the sport.
Caryl Thomas, who is in her 10th season with the Foundation, was a finalist in two categories - Outstanding Services to Sport in Bath and Sports Personality of the Year. She was praised for her dedication to rugby - after competing for Wales in her third Rugby World Cup - and for being instrumental in the setting up of the first mixed ability rugby team in the South West. Caryl plays for Bristol Rugby and coaches Bath University women's team.
Tarquin McDonald, Bath Rugby Chief Executive, said: "On behalf of everyone at Bath Rugby, I'd like to extend a huge congratulations to Becks, Rob and Caryl for the recognition they received at the Bath Chronicle Sports Awards. They are all truly deserving for their tireless work and enthusiasm in the local community, ensuring that disadvantaged young people can enjoy sport and feel the benefits of being part of something. The coaches are a credit to the Foundation, and the Club, and we are delighted for all three."
Lynne Fernquest, CEO of Bath Rugby Foundation, added: “I am understandably proud of all three coaches, for the commitment they show to Bath Rugby Foundation and of course to Bath Rugby, however I'm equally proud that they extend that energy and positive attitude to all areas of their lives. Our coaches provide vulnerable children and young people with a vital support network.
“It was a very special evening with so many inspiring stories from finalists and winners. Many sports were represented and the event showcased the confidence building, cohesive and restorative power of sport at every level, from grass roots to elite athletes. We are truly blessed in Bath to have such a wealth and breadth of talent.”