Dedicated clubmen Iain Whyte, the man behind the Minis Festival and Honorary Treasurer Ross Luke have been recognised for all their efforts with London Scottish at an RFU Volunteer Awards evening this past weekend at Twickenham.
Iain Whyte, who was nominated back in May, was recognised by the RFU and his fellow volunteers at London Scottish for his dedication to everything London Scottish and his devoted and well organised management of the Minis Festival. The Minis Festival is one of the premier events on the club’s calendar. It brings over twenty clubs together, including a few clubs from abroad, for a fine morning of rugby at The Athletic Ground.
The 2017 Minis Festival was the largest to date with over 1650 children playing rugby and 4500 parents coming down. Iain also managed to wrangle the entire 1stXV squad down for the morning as they lent a helping hand to the Minis coaches and even lead some team talks.
Iain was acknowledged as a Valued Volunteer at the Mitsubishi Motors Awards and was thrilled to receive the award and spoke highly of everything that was happening at London Scottish.
“I was utterly humbled to have been nominated for this prestigious award and then blown off my feet to have won the regional winner award!” Whyte said. “It was utterly unexpected and a really big thing for me, my family and my friends. The minis have gone from strength to strength these last few years with outstanding leadership from the Minis Chairman, Executive Committee and coaches. The festival growth and success is just one part of the story, and I felt I was collecting the award not just for my personal effort but for the wider club of volunteers who have done so much to make the London Scottish Minis so successful. Minis prominence within the wider club is an important thing to us and we really do feel that ‘One Club’ spirit that starts at the professional level and runs right through the club. The Minis are a very important part of the club, our lifeblood and our future.”
Whyte continued, “London Scottish has a number of differentiators from many other clubs, but not least our diversity and inclusive nature of the club and the incredible links between 1st XV Professional side and the minis. It gives me massive pride to see so many of our professional players coming down on a Sunday morning to help train the Minis and Juniors. I don’t know of any other club that can boast this and it gives both coaches and kids such an incredible boost. We’ve seen so many new players join us who wanted to try rugby while having never played before. We’ve welcomed them, supported them and they have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The London Scottish Minis Festival is obviously a massive event in our calendar and will be held on Sunday 14th October 2018. Last year saw some 20 clubs visiting from as far the Netherlands with some 1,650 players and 5,000 visitors overall. It is impossible to run such an event without an incredible bunch of volunteers, and I can only say that this “volunteer of the year award” is shared amongst us all.”
It was a double on the night for Scottish as lifelong member and long serving volunteer Ross Luke also rightly received some recognition for his long-standing commitment and help with London Scottish.
Ross joined the club a staggering fifty-five years ago as a player in 1963. Ever since he first took the field with his fellow Scottish Exiles, he has held London Scottish very dear to his heart. Since his playing debut many moons ago, Ross has held multiple positions at the club and is currently London Scottish’s the Honorary Treasurer and oversees the finances for the amateur sides. He is also heavily involved in and around the club doing all he can at every opportunity and you can be sure to always see him cheering on the 1stXV on the touchlines on a Saturday.
London Scottish are extremely proud to have seen of their two finest volunteers noticed by the RFU for all the tireless work they do for this great club. Volunteers are the heartbeat of our club and for two of them to recognised on the same night says a lot about the type of individual involved at London Scottish.
Well done Ross and Whytey, you both thoroughly deserve your accolades.