The Sport and Recreation Alliance has presented Mike Hamilton Chief Executive Officer of British Orienteering, with an Emeritus Award for his long-term service to orienteering.
The Sport and Recreation Alliance Emeritus Award has been in existence for over 10 years and is awarded for life-long or sustained service to grassroots sport and recreation or for long service to the Sport and Recreation Alliance itself.
Mike has been a lever for leading this change making sure that the 25,000 people who challenge themselves physically and mentally by orienteering at least six times a year in 2016 find this ‘go to’ outdoor sport fulfilling.
This level of activity is impressive on any scale, but even more so when you factor in that British Orienteering has only 11,000 members. Part of this growth is down to Mike making sure the sport is modernising. One way they have done this is by increasing local, urban orienteering to fit more easily into the lives of runners and walkers of all ages who want to test themselves. Change doesn’t come easy and British Orienteering, like many sports, has longstanding participants who want the sport to ‘remain the same’ combined with new participants with views of a modern outdoor adventure sport. The organisation has also worked hard to improve their decision making to help strike the balance between the differing aims of members and participants and has moved from a ‘Council of 25’ to a more traditional board of directors.
Mike has been involved in sport throughout his life as a participant, performer, volunteer and professional and has been Chief Executive at British Orienteering since January 2006. Sport has been and continues to be his way of life and he started his career as a PE teacher after studying at Loughborough University. He also played cricket and hockey and moved into coaching hockey at all levels from beginners to Olympic squads.
He counts himself very fortunate to have been so readily accepted as Chief Executive in a small sport, and one in which he had not been an active ‘participant’. He has found this both challenging and enjoyable at the same time. British Orienteering turned 50 years old this year, and it is exciting to see how it will continue to grow and continue developing with the times under his continued leadership.
Mike Hamilton Chief Executive Officer for British Orienteering, said: “It is a great honour to be recognised by the Sport and Recreation Alliance for my work at British Orienteering. During the time, I’ve worked within the sport, the role of the Alliance has changed considerably. I believe the Alliance has grown in importance as an independent organisation providing leadership and support within the sport sector. Therefore, receiving the Emeritus Award, I feel, is one of the highest tributes and recognitions I could receive. Thank you.”
Judith Holt, Chair of British Orienteering, said: “Mike's SRA Emeritus Award is well-deserved recognition for his success in working with British Orienteering. As Chair, I have benefited enormously from the extensive knowledge he has built up about the sport and its governance. I am delighted that his dedication and hard work have been recognised in this way.”
Andrew Moss, Chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance commented: “We are delighted to present Mike with the 2017 Emeritus Award for his outstanding service to British Orienteering and the wider sport and recreation sector. Through Mike’s innovative leadership, British Orienteering continues to think creatively about how it can offer people from all backgrounds the opportunity to be active. As a result, his contribution has made a significant difference to the growth and profile of British Orienteering and his passion has enabled more people from across the country to get involved and to experience the benefits of sport and recreation.”
This exciting and challenging outdoor sport is growing as the sport continues to respond to fresh challenges.