Rebels club secretary and Development Manager Rob Butland has been named Rugby Football League Volunteer of the Year 2017, having being shortlisted from hundreds of nominations across the UK.
In a ceremony held at The Sir Alex Ferguson suite ahead of the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday, Rob was given his award in front of over 150 other nominees as well as RFL staff and directors.
We asked Rob if he wanted to send us a few words, and although he has come straight back down to reality with a week of night shifts at work, he wanted to say the following…
“I’ve just got back from a weekend in Manchester for the Super League Grand Final and in the Community Awards ceremony on Saturday I was privileged to be named Volunteer of the Year 2017.
As I accepted the award I got to say some thank yous and speak a little about what we are doing in Cornwall to grow the game, which went down very well with the room, but not everyone could be there so I want to recognise them now publicly.
The biggest thank yous go firstly to the Rebels themselves. From the lads who play game after game year after year to those who dip in for a game here and there, it’s seeing you enjoy Rugby League that makes me want to build it so that more will come and enjoy it with us. You too are volunteers, and every club is nothing without its players. To every single Rebel, past and present … Thank you for being open minded and giving it a go.
Also an enormous thank you to our Chairman John Beach who is a real partner in crime for me; we have been through so many ups and downs together and he is the first place I go with my wacky ideas. He keeps the whole club on an even keel and together we turn those ideas which we have into reality. Everything we achieve, we achieve together for our club. Mates for life. Thanks buddy.
I also thanked Steve Leonard and Craig Richards at St Helens who have helped me become what our County needed to take these steps forward and who I’m sure will help us take the next ones also. They are currently en-route to Australia for they bi-annual 3-week tour with the Saints Academy, which just shows the calibre of our partner club and how seriously they take development.
Some of the guys at the RFL also need a mention; Marc Lovering, Anthony Atherton, Dave Raybould, Laura Fairbank, Russell Murphy and Steve Guan I am also very thankful. The experiences we have shared and challenged faced in our five years as a club which have made me better and more effective at what I do, and that’s priceless, really. They all do a tough (and often thankless) job with limited resources, so credit is usually lacking. Not today.
There’s some other thank you’s which need to be made in person but let me just say that no man or woman ever achieved anything entirely on their own. If you have ever been on the end of a phone for me, answered my questions or simply just told me how much you enjoyed the experience of Rugby League in Cornwall; Thank you.
A special shout for Daniel Lugg who has been a pillar of support at some big moments for us along the way.
I’m proud of what we have achieved as a club, but I am even prouder of where we are planning to go. My efforts are just a small part of the story. This award is a lovely way of telling me we are on the right tracks.
The final shout goes to the one and only Mrs Butland. Behind every successful person there is a partner who is making sacrifices, and she is as much a part of this achievement as I am.”