Nicci’s efforts rewarded by Olympic champion
AN OLYMPIC champion was full of praise for the hard work put into rowing at a grassroots level by a local volunteer.
Hexham Rowing Club committee member Nicci Slipman met Great Britain's most decorated Olympian, Dame Katherine Grainger, who won gold in the double sculls along side Anna Watkins in London 2012, when she was invited to British Rowing's National Volunteer Awards to pick up her prize for being named the North-East's best.
Nicci, who doesn't row herself but puts an endless amount of time into helping others at the club, visited the National River and Rowing Museum at Henley-Upon-Thames with her husband Tony for the awards ceremony.
She was recognised for her efforts in managing the junior section at Hexham, transforming the section from a bunch of recreational rowers into competitive athletes who have won at almost every event they competed in during the 2016 season.
Her passion for developing the young members of the club through her encouraging words has made her a popular member, and she has helped the section flourish as large numbers turn out for training and competitions.
Nicci has organised coaching for her squad from a variety of sources, with one session seeing former Queen Elizabeth High School and Great Britain rower Nicole Lamb pass on her skills and knowledge to the awe-struck youngsters.
An ever present at Tyne Green with her clipboard and pen, Nicci's many roles include marshalling crews, managing the coaching programmes, overseeing safety and ensuring the young people continue to enjoy the sport at Hexham Rowing Club.
On top of that, she also plays a big role in raising funds by arranging barbecuse and refreshments at rowing events.
She is a serving member of the club's committee and helps with race entries and event transport.
Hexham Rowing Club chairman Kevin Oates said: "Nicci's award is the culmination of her hard work, dedication and effort in bringing on the junior section, and making a huge contribution to many sporting dreams for the young people she helps.
"It was fitting that Dame Katherine Grainger, an Olympic champion, presented Nicci with her award and recognised the contribution she has made at grassroots level of Great Britain's most successful outdoor Olympic sport.
"Who knows, one of Nicci's athletes could be in-the-running at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Let's hope so!"