National award for Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club official

The online awards were hosted by former Olympian Katharine Merry and featured guest appearances from Jenny Meadows, Kelly Sotherton MBE and Toni Minichiello

Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 5:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 5:16 pm
Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club's (C&AC) Mary Hodges has been named England Athletics' Official of the Year. Photo supplied

Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club's (C&AC) Mary Hodges has been named England Athletics' Official of the Year.

The online awards were hosted by former Olympian Katharine Merry and featured guest appearances from Jenny Meadows, Kelly Sotherton MBE and Toni Minichiello.

Hodges, who won the West Midlands Official of the Year award in December, beat Christopher Parkinson of Wycombe Phoenix Harriers and AC to win the top award which recognises "an enthusiastic official who makes a brilliant contribution to athletics in their local area, club or region".

Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club's (C&AC) Mary Hodges has been named England Athletics' Official of the Year. Photo supplied

Hodges, who has officiated at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London and the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, said just to reach the final two was reward for all her years of dedication to the sport.

"I've given up being at family dos and the weekends, you commit to the whole weekend from probably Friday lunchtime through to Sunday night and it's just a big thank you for all those years and dedication."

Announcing Hodges' success, elected board director Lorna Booth MBE paid tribute to Hodges' attention to detail and approachability and shone a light on her mentoring of up-and-coming officials.

She said: "She's highly respected among UK officials for her knowledge, her attention to detail and her approachability. She's consistently shown that she can work comfortably at a high level right down to new officials and supporting them on their journey."

Hodges, who serves as chair of the Midland County's Women's Cross-Country League, has doubled the number of officials at Leamington C&AC and described the recognition as a "big, big thing for the club".

And she admits the Official of the Year Award might just make her life a little easier in the future.

"It's so difficult these days to recruit new officials so to see the awards like this just shows them that giving up all their time to volunteer can sometimes be acknowledged, either regionally or nationally."