A YOUTH coach at Helensburgh Rugby Club has been honoured for his commitment to developing the next generation of players.

Ian Smith, the club’s youth convener, was named winner of the ‘youth rugby volunteer of the season’ prize at Scottish Rugby’s community recognition awards last week.

Awards were announced for six categories in the Glasgow North area at Cottiers in Glasgow, with three ‘volunteer of the season’ winners – in youth, school and adult rugby – as well as a young person’s award, community club of the season, and community referee of the season.

A Scottish Rugby spokesperson said: Approaching ten years in coaching at Helensburgh Rugby Club, Ian’s commitment to the club has seen him help drive it forward. For the last three years, Ian has stepped into the role of youth convener alongside his coaching duties.

“Ian owns his own company, which he runs day-to-day. This takes him across the UK, but despite this, he barely misses a training session or match.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

“Despite his own son suffering a severe spinal injury, Ian continued to coach and provide unwavering support to his own 22 players. His son made a full recovery and was coached by Ian back into the back row and as a lineout jumper.

“The desire Ian has showed to raise playing and coaching standards has not gone unnoticed by those at Helensburgh, as he has worked to introduce coaching and refereeing courses.

“Ian will step down from his roles at the end of the season but will help to appoint a co-ordinator that shares his desire for improvement.”

One parent said of Ian’s commitment to his role: “I have no idea where he finds the time to do all the coaching preparation, training preparation and match preparation whilst being on the main club committee.

“I have roughly worked out Ian gives 25-30 hours volunteer time per week.”

A Helensburgh RFC spokesperson added: “Ian’s dedication and commitment to youth rugby shine as a beacon of inspiration to the Helensburgh community.

“This is a well-deserved accolade for Ian’s tireless efforts and decades of passion for the sport.”

Peter Burgon, Scottish Rugby’s Glasgow North regional director, said: “The beauty of the Community Recognition Awards is the opportunity that it affords us to recognise and celebrate the contribution of so many people who give their time and energy to the game, without seeking thanks or praise.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

“That’s why it’s so important for us to recognise nominees as well as winners, for someone to have contributed to their environment to the point that someone else wants to nominate them for an award is a wonderful thing. 

“There are so many people doing amazing things across rugby environments in Glasgow North. The chance to celebrate even just a small proportion of them is an absolute highlight of the season.”

Dalziel RFC won three of the night’s other awards – adult volunteer for Les Barclay, school rugby for Graham Calder, and the club of the season accolade – while the young person’s award went to Alan Paul of Uddingston RFC and the referee award to Johnny Sim of GHK.