Sophie Richardson is Club Volunteer of the Year at Loop Table Tennis Club – at the age of just 11.

Sophie was presented with her certificate – part of the Pride of Table Tennis Awards initiative – at the club in Hebburn-on-Tyne recently.

Angela Wilkinson (treasurer and club development officer) said:

Loop Table Tennis only survives with the help of many club volunteers. Sophie has been here since she was nine and at first helped in the tuck shop and with the register.

Now Sophie helps every week, making suggestions for fundraising, how to make our environment better, and supporting new members. Sophie gets on well with member of all ages from six to 90. She is never short of something to say, and always puts a smile on our faces.

Sophie has also improved vastly in the last two years and now has gained ranking points after competing in a number of tournaments. She is a fantastic ambassador for the sport. We are very proud of her.

Sophie, who won the Under-11 Girls’ Singles at the Inter-Regional Championships last season, said:

I can’t believe I have won this award, I’m so happy. I love to come to Loop to play and help out in the tuck shop. I also enjoy helping the younger players with their game.

I am really looking forward to this season where I aim to improve on my current ranking, but will still enjoy volunteering at Loop on a Sunday.

Sophie’s grandmother Val Lough and cousin Jordan Dove are also club members and Val added:

I didn’t think Sophie would stick with the game when she first came along with her cousin Jordan. Now Sophie can give him a good game, and she loves to be around people of all ages.

She has a natural ability to make people feel welcome, and I am very proud to have two grandchildren who love the sport as much as I do. It’s great to be able to do something as a family on a weekend.

Has your club awarded a Volunteer of the Year or nominated anyone for a national award? Click here to find out more and make a nomination – the closing date is September 22.