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four athletics officials win prizes at sports officials uk awards

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Officials Awards

30 October 2015

Four athletics officials were honoured with prizes at the Sports Officials UK National Officiating Awards held yesterday evening. Craig Birch, Jack Walters, Jon Mason and Ralph Burrows all picked up awards at the ceremony, which was held at the Abbey Hotel in Redditch.

There were also three runners up prizes picked up by athletics officials with India Hollingsworth second in the Junior Official of the Year category, Alison Jordan the Performance Official of the Year runner up and Bob Carter the Lifetime Achievement award runner up.

Craig Birch, a level 2c field official and a member of the Youth Advisory Group, was named as the Young Official of the Year and thanked British Athletics for their support.

He said: “Thanks to British Athletics for giving me to opportunity gain experience and develop myself. I would like to thank my mentor Jon Mason for guidance, support and taxi services! I am very surprised and grateful to receive this prestigious award against some strong competition.”

Jack Walters has been involved in athletics since 1943 and is still officiating at the age of 86. He was crowned the Community Official of the Year and encouraged more people to get involved in athletics officiating.

He said: “It is a surprise and a great pleasure to receive this award. I am a lifelong official, which is very rare now, and without more officials there wouldn't be any competitions. I attended 67 meetings in 2014/15 including 18 endurance events, in which I always maintain my standards. I always encourage others to begin officiating and will continue to pursue my passion.”

After winning the School Games Official of the Year award, Jon Mason, who was a field judge at London 2012, said: “I am extremely happy for the nomination and to win this award, however the School Games is a team effort with a lot of people helping out behind the scenes. I would like to say a special thank you to all at British Athletics and Jan Lishman for being such a great technical manager for the last two years.”

Ralph Burrows won the Officials Developer of the Year award in recognition of his work as a tutor for Field Events and Health & Safety from the early days of the education programme, going beyond the call of duty to introduce youngsters into officiating.