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In the Spotlight... Continued Contribution to Orienteering Award (New for 2021) - Winner and Runners-up

Today British Orienteering is proud to shine the spotlight on...

British Orienteering Continued Contribution to Orienteering Award Winner and Runners-up. 

NEW to 2021, this award recognises and celebrates the volunteer efforts of those in our sport who contribute greatly, often behind the scenes, over an extended period of time. This would be ideal for a long-standing club or association committee member for example. 

Congratulations to John Britton (Manchester and District Orienteering Club) who is the winner of this inaugural award. 

John Britton 

What has John not done!  

Map Library and Permanent Orienteering Courses.  John is responsible for printing, map library, and (external) development of the new website and manages payments of maps.  John developed the Postwatchers portal.  Carries out maintenance of 56 sites over a wide area of ten Manchester County Boroughs and Cheshire.  In 2011, John had sent out by post 14000 maps in the past four years and in 2011 produced a new map of Amberswood.  Previously John has done regular map surveys and updates for several years before that.  He maintains a huge amount of data about every Permanent Orienteering Course, provides regular updates and individual post photographs, acts on Postwatchers reports, and cleans, maintains, and replaces damaged posts, largely on his own.  John paints all posts, including the 'O' symbol.  Pioneered the use of QR-coded plaques on all posts at every Permanent Orienteering Course.  This is well over 1,000.  These publicise the Permanent Orienteering Courses to park users, who on scanning the QR code with their phone are taken to a webpage to get a map. The 56 areas are constantly changing, to maintain the quality of the Orienteering experience for map buyers it is essential to keep them up to date.  No map is static for more than a year, most are updated more frequently by John.  He liaises with South East Lancs. Orienteering Club and Manchester and District Orienteering Club for major map resurveys.  In the Greater Manchester Orienteering Association's Annual Report 2020-21, highlighted that John had done 119 Permanent Orienteering Course site visits for maintenance alone. 

Club committee - Club Chair for three years.  Since 2010, John has been Vice-Chair of the Greater Manchester Orienteering Association. Committee member. Mentor and coach to International Orienteers.  No one in our club works harder.  

Coaching - John started helping Manchester and District Orienteering Junior Club. He helped with the North-West Junior squad starting in 2002.  Level 2 in 2003 and Level 3 in 2007. Coached at the British Orienteering training event organised in the Lakes in April 2008.  2009 organised club coaching day at Bouth woods about 20 attended. Ran club coaching days at Halkyn mountains 2012, Lakes, and weekends in Scotland.  Helped at Lagganlia from 2011 to 2014.  In 2009, ran a course - 'Intro to OCAD'.  John was the Organiser of the Sprint event at M/C Univ.  Planned NWNL event at Watergrove.  2010 - Ultrasprint planned in Macclesfield. Produced the map, and planned three courses together with designing and building the Maze. 

Planner - for first Stockport Urban 2008. Offerton Sprint 2016, both days. Twin Peaks (Angle Tarn and Place Fell) 2004.  Co-planner British Champs at High Dam 2017, OMM 2019 Largs.  Planned multiple Night Street League Events and Countryside Score Events.  2017, John had spent a year planning an excellent set of courses in the highly technical area of High Dam for the British Champs.  Elite runners said: "it was the best course they had run all year". May 2017 level A planning British Champs Offerton.   

Controller - Grade B 2011, Grade A 2015. Several Capricorns, JK Sprint Lancaster Uni 2015, British Sprint Champs Loughborough Uni 2019, Lakes 5 days, Angle Tarn 2018 & Grizedale 2014.  Tockholes PFO 2010. 2012 Introduced and coordinated the NW Urban League 6 events based in the region. In 2013, John was involved in organising school events at Bramhall Park.  

Organising - of the Twin Peaks2015. Also planned reserve area for 2014 Lakes 5 Days. Recently Northwich Urban, Pendle Fell, Big Moor. 2016 responsible for Sprints at Leeds Uni.  

Mapping – John learned OCAD in Portland in 1995, and wrote a new map of Hoyt Arboretum, later used for the World Masters Games. MDOC Night Street League.  John is involved at every level. The mapping standards and planning are regulated by John to ensure competition is fair and understood by all. 

Social Media/Information & Communication Technology - 2015 ran the club's Facebook Page.  Formed a media sub-committee to share ideas and work concerned with Facebook and Twitter.  2015 Trialled the MOBO app organised the first local MOBO event in Burrs Park Bury in 2016. Wrote a detailed guide on how to use MOBO.  In 2020 John was closely involved with the production and promotion of the 4 Getting Started Sport England videos. They have been used by other clubs and praised by local schools. He also wrote a detailed guide on how to use them.  

Congratulations John on winning this award! 


The runners-up...who are other worthy nominees for this award: 

George Crawford-Smith 
Dave McQuillen

George Crawford-Smith (Pendle Forest Orienteers) has been a major force behind all that Pendle Forest Orienteers do for over two decades. He does a plethora of jobs for the club and no event would go ahead without his help in some capacity.  He is always one of the 1st to arrive at a Pendle Forest Orienteers event and always the last to leave whether he is the planner, organiser or just taking part. 

Here are some of his roles within the club: 

  • Planner - George organises the calendar of events thoroughly each year, no easy task as we now regularly hold over 30 events each year. 
  • Mapping - George maps and updates almost weekly throughout the year and acts as a mentor to our novice planners, setting up a new planning group to help update a club area.  Mapping schools, new areas for Pendle Forest Orienteers, or being involved with the new Find Your Way Project mapping areas for local community groups. 
  • Organiser - George lists himself as organiser for most Pendle Forest Orienteers events during the year, making sure the maps get printed, collecting equipment from the club garage, sorting permissions and all the usual facilities. 
  • IT - George updates the club website with news, information, pictures, and reports of each event.  George lists, updates, and tracks all entries on the S.I Entries website for the club. 

George is a real powerhouse behind the scenes and very rarely gets outward recognition for his efforts for the club, but all at Pendle Forest Orienteers are very grateful for the huge amount of effort he puts into making the club run so smoothly. 


Dave McQuillen (Solway Orienteers) has just stepped down from a Solway club role so it is a fitting time to pay tribute to his massive contribution over more than 30 years.  Small clubs need people like Dave - someone with enthusiasm, drive, and consistency plus being able to master many tasks and roles in the club.  He has been on the committee for 30+ years serving as club magazine editor, secretary, treasurer, SI gear guru, Level 1 coach, planner, controller, organiser, mapper and OCAD expert, club equipment officer, and mentor to others learning various roles.  You name the role and Dave has done it thoroughly and well.  He has also planned one day in the Scottish 6-Days and has frequently been the club organiser for resources on our helping days at the 6-Days event. 

Dave has given such a massive contribution to Solway Orienteers over such a length of time has earned him much gratitude from club members.


Brian Slater 
Victoria McCreadie

Brian Slater (Humberside and Lincoln Orienteers) has been involved with Humberside and Lincoln Orienteers since its creation 40 years ago. Brian has been Chair and continues to help organise and put on events.  He prints all the maps for local events and pre-covid manned the registration desk at all our events. 

Last year Brian was given lifetime membership of Humberside and Lincoln Orienteers Club as thanks. 


Victoria McCreadie (Wimborne Orienteers) has been integral to the Royal Signals Orienteering Club since its inception in 2010.  She has selflessly planned, organised, and executed many trips to multi-day events, in the UK and abroad over the last five years.  Late to take up orienteering, she has recently completed her L2 coaching qualification and does even more than before for the Royal Signals Orienteers.  As the Scottish 6-Days was shortened last year, she put together some fantastic training days to cover the remaining 3 days in Scotland to ensure personnel still got the best from the week.  Vicky has coordinated several weeklong training events over the last five years, recruiting Dave Rollins to assist her with the execution of the weeks. V icky is always there, rain or shine and she has helped plan Corps championships alongside civilian events and has an excellent relationship with many clubs throughout the UK. 

Vicky has now moved to Wimborne club but still supports all military activity and has just deployed a group of seven military personnel to Portugal. 


Carol Stewart (North Gloucestershire Orienteering Club) should be recognised for her decades of service as Treasurer on the North Gloucestershire Orienteering Club committee.  Carol's careful stewardship has ensured club solvency while enabling the club to invest in the latest innovations in the sport.  Carol is a dedicated and dependable constant volunteer at all our events, where she runs registration.  Carol is the first point of contact and face of the club for new orienteers and initiated, stocks, and runs the club tea tent for post-event sustenance.  Although largely retired from active orienteering, Carol still turns out to represent and compete for the club when it counts (i.e. CompassSport Cup) as a W80. 

(No photo submitted for Carol Stewart)


Stephen Gilmore
Carol McNeil 
Chris Burden 

Stephen Gilmore (Lagan Valley Orienteers) has been the Northern Ireland Orienteering Association Secretary for many years and is very active in directing and driving forward our sport in this region. Stephen has been involved in many projects over years of service, here are just some of the things he has headed up in the last 5 years...  

  • Ongoing commitment to map urban and parkland areas.  
  • Heavily involved in Beat the Street Collaboration from which Urban O Explorers Belfast legacy hub was born.  
  • MapRun Development and administrator in Northern Ireland.  
  • Supported Webinars in Northern Ireland both in planning and delivering.  
  • Worked closed with Sporting Club Coordinator to update Permanent Orienteering Courses and Eco-trails. 
  • Involved in Lagan Valley Orienteers funding subcommittee, often taking the lead on funding applications. 
  • Taking a lead role in coordinating the upcoming 2022 JIRCS. 
  • Involved in planning group for next year’s British Championships.  

Stephen has made a huge contribution to Orienteering in NI and is consistently ahead of the game. He is fiercely dedicated to the development of orienteering and is continually applying his vast range of hard and soft skills to support the association, the clubs, and individuals. 


Carol McNeil (Lakeland Orienteering Club) doesn't stop thinking about how she can get people involved in orienteering as well as doing events herself.  Members that are already involved, she is training them up as coaches; including Zoom coaching meetings when not able to get out and running training for females only which proved popular.  

In spring 2021 her six spring coaching zooms attracted 93 people from not only North West clubs but Swansea, Forth Valley Orienteers and Solway. 

She is now busy planning a Level 2 coaching course in June. 

Carol has been such a constant positive contributor and an asset to our club and the general ethos of Orienteering.  


Chris Burden (Airienteers). For over three decades, Chris has been a bedrock of Airienteers.  He is a dedicated, prolific, and expert mapmaker, who has played a key role in mapping competition areas and school sites, always donating any payment for the latter to junior orienteering pursuits.  He has also been an active and proactive fixtures secretary for over a decade: in this role, he has facilitated the extremely busy, varied, and well-attended Airienteers (and Yorkshire and Humberside Orienteering Association) schedule, including several national competitions, local midweek events, and everything in between.  In addition, Chris organises and plans a great number of events (probably more than any other member), often stepping in when others pull out.  He also mentors novice planners and organisers.  On top of this, he plays an active role as part of the committee. 

Airienteers would be a much weaker club without Chris. 

Philip Gristwood
Dick Whitworth
Mike Bolton

Philip Gristwood (Mole Valley Orienteering Club). Over 30 years Philip has contributed massively to British Orienteering – at a club level with Mole Valley and Southern Navigators, at a regional level with the South East Orienteering Association, and on a national level with planning, controlling, acting as an International Orienteering Federation (IOF) Event Advisor and as Chairman of England Orienteering. 

There can't be more people who have put more time and effort into orienteering, and Philip deserves recognition for 30+ years of dedication to the sport. 

IOF Event Advisor.  Philip has worked on many World Ranking Events, including days of the JK and the British Champs. Attended IOF Event Advisor Clinic. Regular juror on high-level events – at least 7 WREs. 

England Orienteering. Chairman of England Orienteering 2006-2019. Travelled to Interland with the team every year. 

Mole Valley (and Southern Navigators). Member since 1987. Fixtures Secretary 1996-1999. Committee Member 1999-present. George Murray Results calculator 2001- present. Club handicap champs calculator 2000-present. Winner Mole of the Year 2010. Represented the club at basically every competition at every level since joining, including the Compass Sport Cup and Trophy Final. Processes club events and club championships results from 2000-present. Co-ordinator for the club's Permanent Orienteering Courses – including making over 80 permanent posts and sorting out the installation. Map maker for the club – produced many of the club’s new maps in recent years. Active in 'informal' coaching and mapping/surveying tuition with club members on a fairly regular basis – happy to help anybody who wants help, and some who don't even know they want help!  Helps at every Mole Valley event.  Prints most of the maps for club events.  

Grade A Planner – including JK Middle 2017 (WRE), Junior Home International 2012, and numerous smaller events. 

Grade B Organiser – numerous small events, plus a recent stand-in at Mole Valley National Event. 

Grade 1 Controller – controlled many high-level events including British Sprint and Middle Champs 2005 and 2015, JK Relay 2007, JK 2019 Sprint, and other Level A events. 

Attended 10+ British Orienteering conferences including Major Events, Controllers, and Event Officials. 

South East Orienteering Association - Committee as Fixtures Secretary 2000-present. South East representative at British Orienteering Event Scheduling Group meetings. Hosts committee meetings. Co-ordinator of the South East League 1999-present. Co-ordinator of the Peter Burt Trophy 1999-present. 

Father of World Champion! - Introduced Graham to orienteering and taught him the fundamentals. 


Dick Whitworth (Border Liners Orienteering Club) is the Club Treasurer.  A former teacher, a man of few words, meticulous, thoughtful, and thorough.  Needless to say, the club has healthy finances despite his insistence on low subs and low entry fees.  Dick has held this position almost continuously for over 50 years!  Only breaking off to do some other committee role before returning to the figures.  

There are at least 18 areas in the northwest that Dick mapped for the first time.  He has now stopped mapping but still prints the clubs’ maps for local events and has also for years sense checked and done a final layout check for planners. 

Dick has always been an excellent promoter of orienteering.  For years he took minibus loads of school children to events in the North of England.  He was always happy to explain ‘how to do it’ to newcomers, whether it was the techniques of good navigation or basic surveying and mapping, in both of which Dick made a major contribution to the successful development of orienteering in the Northwest of England.   

Dick is a perfect candidate for nomination for an award of this nature, he is an absolute inspiration to younger orienteers and we keep a close eye to pick up tips on long life and good health.  


Mike Bolton (Mole Valley Orienteering Club) does a sterling effort for Mole Valley Orienteering Club with so many roles, including: 

Current Membership Secretary - Mike is a nurturer of new members, always going the extra mile, and always with a personal touch. He is a long-standing committee member of the club, having been on our committee since the 1980s, and as Membership Secretary since before we all used computers. He’s won our Mole of the Year award twice, in 2008 and 2017.  

Communications – Mike provides inventive and fresh communications with the club members and is always an engaging read. Because of this, and his friendly face at events, Mike has an uncanny knack for getting people to want to help/support/volunteer. 

Organiser in Chief - A top ten of highlights of the largest events he’s organised over the last decade and a bit include:

JK Day 3 2008 Ashdown Forest, SE Scores 2010 Holmbush, Level B 2012 Holmbush, Level B 2013 Balcombe, British Night Champs 2014 Pippingford Park, Level B 2014 Pippingford Park, SE Families and Veterans 2016 White Downs, JK Day 3 2017 St Leonards & Holmbush, Night event 2017 Holmbush, C-S Cup Regional heat 2022 Balcombe. 

His calm nature, and not to mention thinking everything through in advance, means that the events go off without a hitch.  

Development & Innovation - during the lockdown, Mike spearheaded a new Mole Valley Orienteering Club endeavour to get some simple park-based courses available for newcomers and juniors to try out orienteering.  Mike came up with “SmartRun”, which we developed on the MapRun app.  Mike put together three grades of courses at 2km and 5km lengths in a couple of our local parks with Permanent Orienteering Courses. 

Mike has made and continues to make such a commitment to the club it would be hard to imagine how Mole Valley Orienteering Club could continue without him. Thank you, Mike, we are so grateful! 



Thank you to all who submitted nominations for British Orienteering's Annual Awards this year. 

Many congratulations!



British Orienteering looks forward to continuing with this 'In the Spotlight' online celebration this afternoon and will be shining the spotlight on the winner and runners-up of the Silva Award - for significant services over the years to 'field' activities at 14:00.