- Eleanor Peggie is a volunteer at Westoe RFC in South Shields
- Nominate a volunteer you know for the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year Awards
- Nominations close at midday on Monday 20 February - Find out more here
There aren’t many jobs that Eleanor Peggie hasn’t done at Westoe RFC in South Shields.
What began as standing on the sidelines, watching her brother play when she was 12 became a whole lot more when she decided to get more involved in club activity.
Six years later, Eleanor has become one of the most important members in Westoe's 140 year history.
“In all my time at Westoe I’ve never seen anyone have the impact she has had,” says Jan Duncan, a volunteer at the club for 22 years and current safeguarding officer. “She’s our very own Angel of the North.”
'She gets stuck in'
“I used to go to the club and watch but I wanted to do more so I started helping the coaches with the warm ups and cool downs,” says Eleanor.
From there, she soon took charge of team registrations and membership and then joined the club’s junior committee.
Before long she was assisting with team management for the senior sides as well as helping with first aid, bringing rugby into schools and developing junior coaching.
"I love being part of a club that has always had an important place in the local community."
Eleanor's most significant role has been in linking up the senior and junior sections at Westoe.
“She approached some of the senior players and asked them to start helping out with coaching in the junior teams,” says Jan.
“It’s now become a regular part of the club, we often have senior players contributing at every junior level now and it’s all down to her.
"The way she approached it sums up her entire attitude, she gets stuck in."
Eleanor is also credited with changing attitudes at the club and remembers what it was like when she first began.
“When I started I was young and on top of that I was a girl. At first people weren’t sure what to make of me but I like to think I’ve changed that."
According to Jan, Eleanor has not only helped develop the club from within, but also expand it.
“She provides a younger person’s perspective on business proposals and has done a lot of work in recruiting from local schools," says Jan.
"She's also been key in influencing the club to incorporate the offer of girls rugby into their development plan for future growth."
Perhaps most impressively, Eleanor has balanced her volunteering with studying for her GCSEs and A Levels.
This summer she received three As and a B in her exams and will be joining Newcastle University to study Medicine.
Despite the time constraints and difficulty in balancing the work with her studies, Eleanor has no plans to stop.
“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it and the reason I do is because of the community atmosphere. It doesn’t feel like work and I love being part of a club that has always had an important place in the local community.”
Dedicated volunteers across the country are at the heart of the sport, and it's clear that Eleanor is at the heart of Westoe RFC.
Do you know a volunteer like Eleanor who deserves to be recognised? Nominate them for the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year Awards to give them the opportunity to be celebrated as one of the country’s leading rugby volunteers.