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Tweet Saturday 10th February 2018

British Orienteering celebrates the dedication of the sports unsung heroes

Celebrating Volunteer Chairperson's in our Orienteering Clubs

Across the UK, orienteering continues to grow and is enjoyed by thousands of people of all ages and abilities. It truly is a sport for all, challenging mind and body. But none of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of the sports unsung heroes. We’ve caught up with a number of people within clubs in various roles, asking them why they got involved and what inspires them to do the excellent job that can often go unnoticed. 

Annmarie Thetford, Chairperson of SELOC

Peter Brooke, Development Officer, caught up with Annmarie Thetford, Chairperson of the South East Lancashire Orienteering Club (SELOC) to find out more.

Annmarie explained that like a lot of people, she got involved through her children when looking for an activity to do as a family.  With not coming from an Orienteering background, it was a great way to bond as a family and enjoy the outdoors attending events and helping her children to learn and progress through the various levels.  Admittingly being left behind once they hit orange, but continuing to enjoy events at her own pace.

As a natural organiser, Annmarie was approached by SELOC’s secretary Caroline Barcham who encouraged her to apply for the vacant chairperson’s position.  Hesitant at first, she took the plunge and is now entering her third year in the position.

Annmarie said: “I was initially quite nervous, particularly as I didn’t have the vast experience of the sport others in the club have, however, I quickly learnt that I wasn’t there to do everything.  I have a great committee around me with everyone having their own specialism.  Allowing me to utilise my people and organisational skills to pull everyone together for the benefit of the club and I have enjoyed every minute.”

Continuing, Annmarie explained the clubs vision and aspirations with the aim to keep a good balance in coaching and support regardless of age and ability.  Working together, SELOC wants to promote the mental and physical benefits of the sport whilst encouraging more families and other members to become involved at events taking part and volunteering to continue to drive the experience forward.

On a personal level, with her older children now at university, Annmarie described the feeling of achievement taking on such a role within the club.

“Knowing you’ve had a positive impact and seeing the smiling faces of everyone enjoying the clubs’ events makes it all worthwhile.  It’s like a step away from everyday life, forgetting your worries and a breath of fresh air.  I’ve met friends at the club that I’d have never met in everyday life and I’m so glad that I took the step from a club member to having a more active role” Annmarie concluded. 

Do you know someone who works tirelessly within your club and should earn the recognition they deserve?

Why not nominate them for one of the British Orienteering Volunteer Awards? 
Simply 'Log in' to the member's section of the British Orienteering website and click the 'Get Involved' tab and click on Volunteering.  Click on the link of the 'Volunteer awards' to access the award categories and download the nomination forms.  It is really easy to do.  Just follow the link and get nominating.

Additionally, if you want to share your ideas on how we can improve volunteering within the sport we’ll be very happy to hear from you, contact Peter Brooke on

SELOC club and volunteers

Group photo of volunteers at the BBC Breakfast Show filming with Mike Bushell for the British Orienteering's 50 Anniversary. 

Members of South East Lancashire Orienteering Club and other clubs and staff involved on the night.