By John Derben, Head of PALS, the Wycombe Wanderers volunteer workforce.When I was asked by the chairman, Andrew Howard, to nominate a volunteer for this award, I had more than 100 names to pick from. Some, like Harold and Marion Lunnon, and Rena Frontalski, have already received this accolade under the ‘Unsung Hero’ award.
This year, that award has been distinguished into two separate categories; Volunteer of the Year and Outstanding Contribution. The club recognises the importance of the contribution made by volunteers; indeed on a home matchday we now have more than 20 volunteers selling programmes, running car parks, helping in the club shop, behind the bar, working with the media team and working with the stadium manager.
My nomination for the Volunteer of the Year award for 2017 is Alan Hodgson. Alan has been working at the club for nearly six years, and started by helping to clear the banks surrounding the car park. That developed into painting during the week and now we have two small teams working in the stadium on Tuesdays and Thursdays under Alan’s guidance working for the stadium manager. Alan’s matchday function is to run the volunteer team in the top car park, which saves the club money instead of paying stewards. Alan is committed to the club, a shareholder in the Trust, and a Chairboys Funder, as well as a player sponsor. He is kind of man who will meet any challenge thrown at him.
There were two other close contestants for the award. The first is Lisa Bowker, well-known to lots of supporters, who has worked in the stadium for over four years and is a great support to Alan and again a contributor to the club’s various fundraising activities. She is another totally committed fan, whose focus in life is her football club.
The other nominee was Graham Roberts, better known to supporters travelling to away games on the OWWSA coaches. Graham supports Rena by taking bookings for every away game and had a lot to do with the success of the fleet we took to Aston Villa and more recently Tottenham Hotspur. That is some task and requires acceptance of intrusion into his personal space as most bookings are taken on the telephone in the evenings. Graham also plays his part helping Alan Hodgson at weekends and during the week when he is needed. Graham is a long-time supporter who has followed Wycombe for many years, and an excellent volunteer who also helps with OWWSA fundraising events.
Congratulations to all three nominees, and a big thank you from the club who really do appreciate the work volunteers do and the level of their support.