Today marks the start of Volunteers Week, a celebration of the huge contribution made by an estimated 23 million people in the UK who volunteer in some capacity in their communities.

Table tennis is lucky to have many dedicated volunteers and nowhere is this more evident than at the PG Mutual Nationals.

Do you know a fantastic table tennis volunteer? Click here to nominate them for a Pride of Table Tennis award

Front of house is one of the key areas, where players, spectators and guests come to pick up accreditation and tickets, buy programmes and ask for information about the event.

For several years, one of the first faces seen by those arriving at the Nationals has been Cheryl McKeown.

Cheryl has played a key role at the last five Nationals and her husband Mick has joined her for the last three years and they have made the front desk their ‘kingdom’.

Cheryl first got involved when the event was staged at Ponds forge in Sheffield, her home city.

She said:

“I was on the council list of volunteers and table tennis is my passion, so when the Nationals came to Sheffield I thought ‘I’ve got to get involved’.

“I love it so much. I love the sport and the people you meet, from all walks of life from CEOs to members of the public.

“The players are human, not like some sports, and they don’t look down on people. It’s great meeting new players and going to new places.”

Cheryl is encouraging any would-be volunteers to get involved and says volunteering can have a really positive influence on anyone’s life.

She said:

“Volunteering helps to increase confidence and you learn new skills and that can roll over into other areas of your life and have a positive knock-on effect. I’d say give it a go, what have you got to lose?”

Cheryl and Mick on the front desk in Nottingham