Two softball volunteers put forward for Torch Trophy Trust Awards

Thu 14 Dec 2017

The Torch Trophy Trust Awards are presented annually to nominees put forward by sports organisations to recognise outstanding contributions by volunteers, and BaseballSoftballUK has made two nominations from the softball community for the Trust’s 2018 awards.

GB Women’s Fastpitch National Team Manager and GB Management Committee Treasurer Simon Mortimer has been nominated for an Outstanding Service award, while GB Women’s Team pool player and Under-16 Girls’ Team Assistant Coach Sian Wigington has been nominated for the New Young Volunteer award.

Twenty awards will be presented across five categories, with judging taking place late in December.

The 55th annual Torch Trophy Trust Awards will then be presented at a ceremony in the spring of 2018, probably by a member of the Royal family.

The awards are presented to recognise grassroots voluntary work for sport and recreation in clubs and communities rather than to honour people who have already achieved national recognition.

Below are some of the reasons why our nominees were put forward.

Simon Mortimer

Simon Mortimer, who has been nominated for an Outstanding Service award, wears many hats as a volunteer for the Great Britain Softball National Teams programme.  From 2013-15, he was the volunteer Team Manager for the Great Britain Junior (Under-19) National Women’s Softball Team and from 2014 to the present he has held the same position with the Great Britain Senior Women’s Softball Team that has serious aspirations to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Also since 2013, Simon has served as the Treasurer for the GB Management Committee, a committee of the British Softball Federation that supports and oversees nine different national teams across various age-groups and genders.  As such, Simon oversees financial planning for all these teams, maintains bank accounts for many of them and makes payments based on team needs.

Over the past two years, Simon has project-managed the implementation of new uniforms for many GB Softball National Teams, researching several suppliers and then working through a large range of options and designs.  The result was outstanding new uniforms being delivered on time for the 2017 competition season, and these uniforms and other team clothing should be extended across all national teams over next couple of years.

Simon has also been responsible for driving the creation and implementation of a range of policies to make the operation of GB National Team programmes more professional and transparent.

Finally, Simon has taken on the role of mentoring and supporting less experienced Team Managers of other Great Britain National Teams, and he collates information from all players trialing for different national teams as well as collating and summarising player feedback after tours on behalf of the GB Management Committee.  All this on top of a demanding full-time “day job”!

Running the GB Softball National Team programmes is a team effort and many people are involved, but it would be fair to say that Simon Mortimer is the glue that holds the whole enterprise together.

Sian Wigington

In 2016, Sian Wigington, who has played GB Softball at every age level from Under-13 upwards, was part of the GB Under-19 Women’s Team that won the European Championship and was also selected to the GB Senior Women’s Team that competed in the WBSC World Championship in Canada.

In 2017, now a member of the GB Women’s Team player pool, Sian was involved in putting together a new women’s fastpitch team known as The Mix to compete in the Great Britain Fastpitch League, and also asked to join the staff of the GB Under-16 Girls’ Team as a way of continuing to develop and grow her knowledge of the game.

In her first season with The Mix as a player-coach, Sian helped the team win the GBFL Women’s League and qualify for the 2018 European Club Championships.  As a member of the GB Under-16 staff, she was responsible for team strategies, scouting and charting, and contributed to line-up decisions, practice planning and pitch sequencing.

Sian’s efforts were instrumental in helping the GB Under-16s finish in fifth place at the 2017 European Cadette Championship, and she clearly has a bright future ahead of her as a coach.

But Sian has also contributed to softball in a number of other ways.

As a BaseballSoftballUK Facilitator/Activator, Sian helps to run corporate softball events for the London and South East Region, helps with Slough Secondary and Primary Schools Leagues as an umpire and coach and has also done school outreach programming, introducing softball to schools in Slough, Ascot and Bracknell.

She also helps coach at Friday night youth sessions at Farnham Park run by the Farnham Park Baseball and Softball Club.

Sian has been a member of BaseballSoftballUK’s Academy and High Performance Academy for the past five years as an athlete, and over the last two years has served as a mentor to younger athletes, leading warm-ups and working with Under-13 players.

For her role in the HPA programme, as well as being identified as one of the top softball athletes in Britain, Sian has received a SportsAid award for each of the past two years.

Sian has also helped the Thames Valley Softball Club with their own youth programming on Sunday mornings as the club tries to rejuvenate its youth section.

Sian Wigington is a perfect example of someone who has gained from softball but also given a huge amount back in a variety of volunteer roles at a young age.

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