Back of the net for happy Helen

Helen with two young coaches
Helen with two young coaches

A NEWTON Mearns netball coach has been named The Extra’s community champion.

With 83 per cent of the vote, Helen Bailie, head coach for St Cadoc’s Youth Club, ran away with the award.

The 49-year-old nebtall enthusiast stepped in to save the team, which almost folded last year because of a lack of coaches — and, as a result of her hard work and commitment, the club has gone from 53 members in December 2012 to almost 130 today.

As well as volunteering on the court, she also participates in numerous fundraising activities for the football and charity groups.

Helen has been coaching since she was 16 and her dad founded the club.

Cathie Devlin, who nominated Helen, told The Extra: “She is a well kent face and well known in the community.

“She is a very worthy champion who has helped a great deal in developing both coaches and players.”

The coach will be presented with her award at a ceremony held by local MP Jim Murphy and local MSP Ken Macintosh this weekend.

The Labour pair launched the project to recognise the fantastic work done by the dedicated and selfless volunteers in the community.

Among the other awards will be voluntary group of the year, volunteer of the year, young volunteer of the year, campaigner of the year, carer of the year and the Betty Cunningham OBE lifetime achievement award.

Ken Macintosh MSP told The Extra: “Volunteers make an incredible contribution to East Renfrewshire’s communities. Without them, many of the services we take for granted would simply no longer exist.

“In particular, so many activities organised for the young, the elderly and the vulnerable are organised solely by people giving up their own free time.

“We think such commitment should be recognised publicly.”

The awards take place this Saturday at the Fairweather Hall in Newton Mearns at 1pm.

GHA Rugby Club’s Hamish McGeoch and volunteers from Mearns Kirk Hall were also nominated for the Extra’s community champion award.