Kent County Volunteer Awards Evening

23 Jun 2024

On Wednesday 19 June, at Footscray Rugby Club, the Kent rugby community came together on the first of two evenings held to celebrate the county’s volunteers. Nominated for National Honda-RFU and Kent Rugby awards by members of their clubs, it was an evening of thanks to all those attending. 

Blackheath Rugby was well represented at the event, with multiple volunteers being recognised for the amount of work they put in to the club and the community. Congratulations to Rob Ballantyne-Evans, Tim Brindle, Graham Cox, Iain Dinning, Noel Fitzgerald, James Fleming, Nick Probert, Russell Ticehurst and Claire Wilkinson, and to Habib Annous who not only received awards during the evening but has also been chosen by Honda-RFU as a National Finalist and has been invited to Twickenham in August, to celebrate with the other finalists from across England. 

James Fleming, Chairman and award recipient, said “It was a great evening of recognition and reward, and really pleasing to see so many Blackheath volunteers recognised by Kent RFU and by the RFU-Honda volunteers awards scheme, many congratulations to them all. Really delighted for Noel Fitzgerald, who has worked tirelessly on behalf of our partner charity CRY, and who was deservedly recognised with the prestigious Kent RFU President’s Award. Also delighted for Habib Annous, who not only received great recognition for leading our Community Schools project but has been nominated to attend the RFU-Honda National Volunteer Awards as the Kent nomination. Russell, Nick and I were also very pleased to be recognised for our project to acquire the freehold of our ground at Well Hall.”

Habib Annous, who was also recognised in both the Kent and Honda-RFU awards says “It is a great honour to have been selected as one of the Kent finalists at the RFU Volunteer Awards. It has been a privilege to work alongside my fellow Community Programme Committee colleagues to deliver our schools programme. The feedback from the schools and the children has been outstanding which is testament to the great work of our Coaches and the Volunteers at our Festivals. 

“We aim to grow again next season so please do contact me on if you are interested in supporting the Programme or introducing us to your school.”

Final words go to Noel Fitzgerald – winner of the prestigious President’s Award for his services to the rugby community, as well as winning recognition as a ‘Game Changer’ with RFU-Honda. Noel was very touched, and said “The award means so much to us all as a family, but this award is for our wider rugby family that has supported us every step of the way and will never truly know how grateful we are for them. 

“The work we have done together to test over 1,400 young people at different locations across the southeast and save so many young lives wouldn’t be possible without the support we have received so generously. Hopefully, we can build upon this more and work with Kent RFU to test within the wider area.” Click here to go to the fundraising page


The full list of award winners and their nomination categories are below, the full citations are here, and go to the gallery to see photographs of the evening, courtesy of Warren King.



  • Habib Annous — Winner, Social Inclusion
  • Graham Cox — Runner Up, Spirit of Rugby
  • Iain Dinning — Winner, Senior Rugby
  • Noel Fitzgerald — Winner, President’s Award


  • Habib Annous — Connecting the Community
  • Rob Ballantyne-Evans — Game for All
  • Tim Brindle — Unsung Hero
  • Graham Cox — Unsung Hero
  • Iain Dinning — Unsung Hero
  • James Fleming — Unsung Hero
  • Noel Fitzgerald — Game Changer
  • Nick Probert — Unsung Hero
  • Russell Ticehurst — Unsung Hero
  • Claire Wilkinson — Connecting the Community / Game for All