The Winners – Volunteer of the Year Awards – 2023

We were delighted to have an array of incredible nominations for our volunteer awards, which are in the 2nd year of running. It is so important to us to recognise the outstanding people within our community, those giving so much to support surfing.

“It was a pleasure to be on the selection panel and see the quality and breadth of nominations that speak for the amazing community we have in this country, from grassroots up to elite level. They may not be household names, you may not of met them, but their work and efforts have already rippled across the country and influenced generations. What an incredible trio.” said Rob Tibbles for Surfing England.

Read on to see the 2023 winners!

Team England Volunteer of the Year – Phil Williams, Team England Para Manager

Phil has been a constant since his first involvement in adaptive surfing – he is passionate and committed and puts in many hours to ensure the Team have the best experience they can at World Championships, and throughout training sessions. Phil has many years of experience as a Team Manager, and this shows in his organisational skills and people management. Congratulations Phil!

Phil Williams with his award

Surf Club Volunteer of the Year – Martin Purchase, Croyde Surf Club

Martin is one of North Devon’s most respected characters. Since Croyde Surf Club was set up in 1979, Martin has volunteered to help out the running of the club (over 43 years of service!). Not only has he been in charge of the club’s finances, but he has tirelessly spent most Monday nights in his wetsuit coaching the really young groms and getting them in the sea.

Martin has never received anything for his services. He’s never been paid. He simply gets pleasure in watching young people catch waves. There’s not a North Devon grom in the last 40 years to have competed in the UK that hasn’t been to a session run by Martin. Even some of the Team England Junior coaches have been to his Monday night grom sessions.

Martin epitomises how selfless we can be in what is, by its very nature, a selfish sport. Whenever Croyde Surf Club has a competition, Martin turns up; sets up gets in his wetsuit and stands all day patrolling the surf and providing lifeguard cover. Not only does Martin deserve this award, but he also deserves and MBE!

Martin Purchase with his award

Waves of Change Award – Kevin Cook, Surf Legend

It is simply impossible to write in 250 words about what this man has done, not only for surfing, but for the community and society as a whole.

I cannot begin to articulate the impact he’s had on the surfing world and on me personally. A fantastic mentor, friend, and epic human. What hasn’t he done? Lifeguard at Woolacombe; ran the British Surfing Association; ran surf clubs at schools; inspected surf schools; he wrote the book! Not only has he written the book(s), but he’s also preserved them in a surfing museum that he set up!

Oh, and something about setting up a World Surfing Reserve to ensure that everyone who comes to North Devon can enjoy it forever. He’s made such an impact on British Surfing that he’s set it up; reminded everyone about its importance and preserved it for everyone.

Kevin Cook with his award

A huge thank you to everyone who submitted nominations this year, and we look forward to running these awards in 2024 – who knows, you could be our next winner!

Already a member?

Sign in to access your discount codes, insurance and membership info

Log into my Surfing England account
Join Today