- Jane Waterhouse was named one of four Mitsubishi Motors Volunteers of the Year
- She has been volunteering at Old Coventrians RFC for 25 years
- Real Rugby Stories tells an inspiring story from the game each week
Some people are born into rugby and that’s certainly the case with Jane Waterhouse.
As a child she used to go along to Old Coventrians to watch her dad John Cobbold play and it is the dedication of her parents to the Warwickshire club that continues to inspire Waterhouse today.
John Cobbold was a former president at the club and continued to play for the 1st XV until he was 63 when he sadly passed away while his wife 80-year-old Sylvia Cobbold is still involved as a volunteer.
“I’ve grown up in a rugby background,” says Waterhouse. “I was always at the club growing up because my parents were such active members.”
So when Waterhouse’s son started playing at the club, she started to get involved as a volunteer and 25 years later she has been club chair, fixtures secretary, mini and junior chair and continues to be the safeguarding officer for Warwickshire.
“Some people may think why on earth do I do this? It’s probably because rugby is so important to me, I believe in the values of the sport and what it can do for people.”
The recognition she deserves
Waterhouse’s incredible dedication to the club she loves over the last quarter of a century has seen her become one of the most respected people in the grassroots game and was recognised this season at the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year awards.
Waterhouse joined 41 other nominated volunteers from across the country at the event and came away one of four winners.
“It was a wonderful evening to be part of. I was humbled by the other volunteers there, it was a little bit overwhelming but I was really proud of the achievement."
And despite all the years of hard work at the club, Waterhouse has no intention of stopping now.
It is clear she continues to be inspired by the example set by her parents. “My dad was something of a club legend. He was six foot five and a bit of a gentle giant.
“When he passed away my mum carried on volunteering at the club and that’s been really helpful for her.”
Sylvia now has several great-grandchildren, paving the way for the next generation to keep the legacy alive at Old Coventrians RFC.
“Volunteering is so important for rugby clubs but also for the person that does it. It gives you a role and a purpose and that’s why I love it."
Read the stories of all four winners from the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme: