BISHOP Auckland Table Tennis club volunteer Pat Johnson has been shortlisted for the National Pride of Table Tennis award finals.

Pat, who was born in Shildon, was nominated by the club for countless hours of voluntary work each week running women and girls sessions, a bat and chat session and an over 50s group and helping with the primary school coaching.

Her passion and enthusiasm saw her selected as a female ambassador for Table Tennis England and she has just passed her UKCC level 1 award. She is also a huge advocate for the physical and mental health benefits of the sport.

She said: “I was shocked and honoured to be nominated in the first place, but to be a finalist I can’t believe it. I'm absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to go and represent all the volunteer work that’s done in the sport and at the club. Volunteering is massively rewarding after the stress of my life table tennis came back into my life and has really made a difference for the positive, the club have been so supportive and encouraging I just want to help spread the benefits of table tennis and the opportunities at the club.”

Club chairman Matt Porter said: “Pat symbolises what we want to do at Bishop Auckland Table Tennis club, using table tennis to help offer new opportunities and help people develop new skills on and off the table. You don’t have to be a great player to come to the club or to get amazing opportunities through table tennis. Pat is vital to our weekly timetable of activities and without her we wouldn’t be able to operate she brings such a warm and caring touch to all her coaching and makes people feel at home straight away within the club."

The annual Pride of Table Tennis Awards honour volunteers, officials, coaches and personalities who are the heartbeat of table tennis across the country.

The finalists are invited to an awards ceremony at the Mark Bates Ltd National Championships in Nottingham at the start of March.

The club is always open to new members of all ages and all abilities and volunteers, for details search for Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club online, social media or call Matt on 07411-018856.