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The Somerset Guardian, 31st January 2024

Grassroots organisations - whether it is charities, choirs, Girl Guides or volunteering networks - form the backbone of our society. Without the generosity of those who give up their spare time and offer their expertise free of charge, many would be far worse off.

Last week, I received a heartening e-mail from Molly Hartill on behalf of the chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Lisa Wainwright, who wrote to let me know that two constituents are finalists at the Community Sport and Recreation Awards 2024.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance is the representative body for the country’s grassroot sport and recreation sector that has an annual celebration of clubs, organisations and individuals who have made significant contributions. This year the awards will be presented by the Duke of Edinburgh.

I was delighted to read that Allyson Irvine has been nominated for the Inspiration of the Year award in honour of her work with the Ripple Effect. Ms Irvine, a double below knee amputee, recently took part in the Ripple Effect project from Swim England, becoming a qualified timekeeper and Level One Judge. I was told that Ms Irvine has ‘a passion for helping others and has had a profound impact on a number of individuals, both disabled and non-disabled’.

The second nominee, also in this category, is Ryan Carstairs. Ryan, who is profoundly deaf and autistic, has been supporting those in the deaf and hearing communities through his volunteering as a timekeeper with the Ripple Effect and offered assistance and encouragement to swimmers in his other role as a junior coach alongside completing his schoolwork. He is currently a Level One Teacher and is also working towards his Level One Judge qualification.

The dedication and selflessness demonstrated by these nominees is deeply admirable – they are both highly deserved of this accolade and I wish them well at the award ceremony.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance:

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