Tony Evans receives national award for services to badminton

Unsung Hero award winners Kath and Tony Evans with Colin Cooper of Hartlepool United
Unsung Hero award winners Kath and Tony Evans with Colin Cooper of Hartlepool United

ONE of Hartlepool’s leading volunteers has been given national recognition for his services to sport.

Tony Evans has been given the Badminton England Meritorious Award for outstanding services to badminton.

Tony and wife Kath were awarded the unsung hero prize at the Mail’s sport awards last month and Tony has now seen his efforts recognised on a national level.

Tony’s dedication to the sport in the town and across County Durham has seen him become the first in the county to receive the award.

He said: “I was thrilled to receive the award; it’s a fantastic surprise to be nominated by the Durham County Badminton Committee and is something that I never expected.”

Badminton England director Malcolm Smith presented Tony with the award at the recent Durham County AGM.

The County nominated Tony for the award after 40 years’ service to badminton as well as an outstanding playing career.

Tony has held the positions of chairman and secretary of the county badminton committee as well as recently being appointed vice- president.

Tony’s commitment has also been felt in the town through his years of service to badminton in Hartlepool.

The dedicated volunteer has run, coached and played for Hartlepool Badminton Club for 13 years.

On top of this he has member of Hartlepool Badminton committee for 20 years as secretary and treasurer.

Evans said: “Badminton has been in decline over a number of years but Hartlepool seems to be bucking the trend and it’s great to see.”

The coach runs sessions for juniors of all ages at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

He said: “I’m thrilled to see all the years of coaching coming to fruition with a number of youngsters playing for the county and in university competition.”

The years of devoted volunteering haven’t held Mr Evans back from a glittering badminton career of his own.

Tony represented Durham County over 100 times and an international career that has taken him across Europe.

Evans earned caps for England Seniors and was crowned European Seniors Champion as well as numerous more medals in the competition.

The Hartlepool player was also part of a Middlesbrough team who represented England in the Europa Cup.

Tony’s wife Kath assists in much of the volunteering, which also includes countless hours at Eldon Grove Tennis Club, said: “It’s great to see his dedication over the years being rewarded.”

l BADMINTON coaching is run by Tony and Kath on a Saturday morning at Brinkburn and is open to all ages and abilities.

The 2012-13 season was the club’s first at Hartlepool Sixth Form College after a move from Brierton Sports Centre which resulted in the club being renamed, Hartlepool Badminton Club.

Evans said: “Thanks must go to the college for letting us use the hall after the move from Brierton and to Ben Robinson for promoting badminton at the Sixth Form College.”

The club holds club nights on a Monday and Thursday at the Sixth Form College from 6pm -7pm for juniors and then until 10pm for adults of all abilities.

Anyone requiring more information about the club should contact Tony on (01429) 263666

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