EVESHAM’S Mat Pickering was honoured at the annual Stratford District Sports Awards, organised by Stratford District Council, last Friday.
Pickering, head coach at Stratford & District Boxing Academy, was named VASA Volunteer of the Year for 2015.
The cream of local sporting talent was honoured at the event, which had more than 250 guests in attendance including Paralympic rowing gold medallists James Roe MBE and Lily van den Broecke MBE and Laura Keates, England rugby international and World Cup winner.
The sports awards, now in its 14th year, was hosted by the Stratford Manor Q Hotel and celebrates the sporting achievements of clubs and individuals across the district and recognises the valuable contributions made by volunteers and parents.
Pickering started his boxing career as a teenager boxing for Stratford ABC before moving on to the coaching side in which he has tirelessly dedicated his life to boxing and the club.
He constantly comes up with new, fun and innovative ways of training. He is very passionate about taking “kids off the street” and giving them a positive path to follow and giving them an opportunity to excel.
He firmly believes everyone deserves a chance to excel and prove they can achieve.
Often Pickering will work with young people who are deemed unmanageable and he will show them how to channel challenging behaviours in a positive manner.
They will also become part of a community family, as that is something the whole club is committed to.
His unique but highly successful training methods have had proven results and the club has been proud to produce a national champion, as well as a number of Midlands and county champions over many seasons.
Pickering has also taken on coaching the FLAG (Fight Like A Girl) squad, which is a Midlands-based, female-only sparring training camp as he is regarded as the expert in training female boxers in the region, if not the country.
In addition, he has recently taken on working with the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough to help improve the cardiovascular fitness of some of the England cricket team members.
His dedication, commitment and sheer passion for the sport, the club and for helping the youth of Stratford and the surrounding areas is second to none and nobody deserved this award more.
A delighted Pickering said: “This is a great accolade to receive, not only for myself but for the club, as it shows the hard work everyone puts in behind the scenes is being acknowledged.
“At Stratford we all see ourselves as a close family so this award isn’t just for me, but for everyone at the club.”