What a thrilling few weeks it’s been at the centre.
First the news that Clare Griffin, manager since 1989, was one of four finalists in the Grassroots category of the Sunday Times Vitality Sportswoman of the Year Awards.
This came as a shock to Clare, since the nomination had been submitted in secret by a handful of her admirers. Although, as Clare admitted, she is not comfortable in the spotlight, it was an exceptional opportunity to raise awareness of the centre nationally.
We’ve had visits from a film crew, a sports writer and a photographer. Clare was interviewed by four radio stations – Isle of Wight Radio, BBC Radio Solent, TalkSport and TalkRadio. And she was featured repeatedly in the Sunday Times.
The winner was decided by a public vote, so we asked everyone to vote. The response was phenomenal, with hundreds of messages of support flooding in.
Finally the awards ceremony arrived on Thursday. Clare and her younger son, Dan, attended the glamorous dinner in London. Back on the Island, listening to the radio, we heard the magic words: “The winner is Clare Griffin, of West Wight Sports & Community Centre.”
As Clare said, in a radio interview: “This is for the whole West Wight community. It’s been an amazing community effort.”
By Sue Lupton
Communications, fundraising and grants manager, WWSCC