WOKINGHAM volunteer Sue Robertson says she was “absolutely amazed” when she found out she had been nominated for the 2016 Sunday Times Community Sportswoman of the Year award.
Robertson and her husband Graeme have been running their non-profit Disabled Golf Association for the past six years to give those with disabilities the chance to still compete in the sport.
The organisation now has almost 1,000 members and Robertson’s work has not gone unnoticed as she is part of a four person shortlist for the national award, which will be given out in a London ceremony next month.
VOTE FOR SUE: No sign-up and free voting with all the details here – http://swoty2016.co.uk/vote/community-award
“I was absolutely amazed and gobsmacked,” she told The Wokingham Paper.
“I’m a volunteer for Disabled Golf (DGA) but to expand my offerings in terms of volunteering I also signed up with a network of volunteers called Join In UK and it is them who made the nomination.
“We started DGA six years ago, formed a community interest company and now have almost 1,000 members all across the country.
She continued: “We’ve probably been the fastest growing organisation in this country playing disabled golf.
“We welcome people from every type of disability and impairment – whether you’ve got autism or had a stroke, got MS, Parkinsons, an amputee or blind, you’re all welcome.
“Everybody can play, as long as you’ve got the right handicap.
“That’s the unique thing about golf, if you’re on the right handicap it’s something you can play with anybody.
“You might need a little bit of extra help or a buggy to get around but it’s played out in the fresh air and it’s a real leveller.”
Graeme Robertson had been a keen golfer before being diagnosed with MS when he was 35, but has now gone on to captain Team England in the disabled form of the game.
And Sue explained how it was her husband missing the competitive nature of golf which prompted the duo to set up DGA.
“He stopped playing golf for about 12 years,” she explained.
“Although he went to the gym and swam a lot, it didn’t really do it in terms of competition.
“It wasn’t his passion like golf is.
“Gradually through the Wokingham Sport Development Unit we got more active in terms of what Graeme could do as his mobility reduced.
“They ran a lot of stuff locally in the Wokingham area for people with long term conditions and when Graeme got his wheelchair about six years ago we were able to start playing table tennis for the first time.
“It was a transition, a gradual thing that actually you know what, maybe you could play golf.
“We looked around and there wasn’t anyone doing what he wanted with having MS so we thought you know what, let’s just do it ourselves.”
Robertson also revealed that DGA is set to convert to becoming a charity in 2017.
Voting for the Sportswoman of the Year award is free and open until midnight on Sunday November 27.
To vote and find out more information on all four candidates, simply go online at swoty2016.co.uk/vote/community-award.