All names you might expect to see on the prestigious shortlists for the Leeds Sports Awards 2016.   Well known household names from the world of cricket, rugby and cycling with their roots at one side or the other of the fence at Headingley Carnegie Stadium or out on the roads of Otley.

But the shortlisted Hardaker is not Leeds Rhino’s full back Zak, but is our very own Pam, rightly recognised for her decades of dedication to junior coaching at Adel over more than 30 years. Most of you will know that Pam spends her Friday evenings running our junior section along with the support of her fellow coaches and volunteers.  Impressively, several of the ladies 1s and 2s began their Adel careers under Pam’s watchful eye and guidance including both current skippers Anna Blyth and Hannah Jones who once started out as beginners in the under 10s.

The junior section has been a thriving hotbed of talent for a number of years, providing training and competitive games for around 200 junior players throughout the season. Pam can be found coaching the junior sessions on Friday nights, organising and co-ordinating a rota of volunteers to assist her.  On Saturdays, she encourages the progress of our juniors making their way through to the senior teams by playing for the Ladies section and if she is not playing then she is usually umpiring a game or too to make sure her protegees play the game the right way.  And then on Sundays, Pam still has time to organise one of the junior teams in the Yorkshire Youth leagues.

Pam also represents the junior section on the Leeds Adel HC committee and is of course a recent past President of the club. Her coaching embodies dedication and inclusion and she has helped encourage the boom in girl’s hockey participation following the success of our national team. Thanks to Pam, Leeds Adel HC have fostered a number of young talents who have gone on to achieve success at the highest level, including Suzy Petty who has played for England and many more who are in the current pathway system and playing at JAC and JRPCs. But for every elite achiever, Pam takes as much pride in seeing all of the youngsters become keen club members who grow and find their level and become regular participants in the sport she loves.

Current Ladies 1st XI captain, Anna Blyth, played hockey as a junior under Pam’s guidance said: “Pam is a lovely, friendly coach who gives all of the girls the inspiration to participate and guides them through junior sport, no matter what level they play at. She helped me develop a love for all sport, and I was delighted when I came back to hockey after my cycling career to find out that she was still at the helm of our junior section. We’re now seeing the benefit of her influence with a number of youngsters in the elite sides who can go on to great things in the coming years”.

Pam faces stiff competition to win the prize for the Participation Coach of the year and I suspect both Dan May and Paul Fletcher (the other shortlisted nominees) also do sterling work at their respective clubs that is equally as valued. The Awards Night is on Thursday 3rd March when we hope to reserve a table from the hockey section to see if Pam’s efforts and contribution to our club’s success is rewarded with a trophy to hopefully accompany some team trophies for success on the pitch.  If you are interested in attending please contact Paul Lewis or myself so we can coordinate numbers.  You never know, you might even get a selfie with Joe Root or Kevin Sinfield’s autograph as a bonus….

In the meantime, please share this wonderful news around the club and continue to do all you can to support Pam with the running of the junior section as we continue to benefit from her commitment and dedication.

The full list of shortlisted nominees is attached if interested.   Good luck Pam!