A VOLUNTEER has won an award in recognition of her dedication to a sport.

Pat Johnson from Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club has been awarded the Pride of Table Tennis National Volunteer of the Year award from Table Tennis England.

Ms Johnson was invited to the National Championships in Nottingham to watch the best players in the world compete for the national title.

During the finals she and the other two finalists were invited out to centre court and the winner was announced.

She won against volunteers from all over the country and the many table tennis clubs that promote the game.

She runs a weekly women and girls session, and supports the clubs disabled, over 50’s, primary and adult coaching sessions while also trying to improve her own game.

Ms Johnson said: “It was an absolute honour. Table tennis has been my passion since I was a youngster and I just hope my enthusiasm and commitment can empower women, girls – and anyone else on the planet – to take a small step through a club’s door and find out what happens inside and how great it is to play this sport.

“I had such a wonderful time over the weekend, and I was so well looked after. I was absolutely delighted to be able to watch those players on that table, it was fantastic.

“I’ve never been that close to them. Everywhere I went during the weekend everyone, even the professionals, all gave me a welcome.”

Matt Porter, club chairman, said: “As a club we’re delighted for Pat. This award is just a small token of our appreciation for all of Pat’s hard work and enthusiasm within the club, this award is truly deserved we couldn’t run the same without Pat.”

The club is open to new members of all ages and all abilities.

To find out more about the club visit Bishop Auckland TTC on Facebook or call Matt Porter on 07411018856