National Volunteer Award Profile Alan Petrie

The last winner from round 4 of our National Volunteer Awards to be profiled is Alan Petrie from Whitehall BC in Aberdeen. Alan received multiple nominations from committee members as well as from many of the young bowlers that he dedicates his time to coaching.

We asked Alan about how he first got involved in volunteering and the rewards he gets from his coaching and volunteering roles within our sport:

“I started bowling at Whitehall Bowling Club in 1993. Fourteen years later in 2007 I became a club coach which means I have been coaching for sixteen rewarding years.

“Initially I coached adults who had recently joined Whitehall Bowling Club, having never bowled before. Welcoming them to the club, and starting them on their bowling journey, is my way of paying back Whitehall for the friendship I received, when I started bowling. I then progressed to coaching junior members.

“Coaching juniors is my passion. Seeing them master the basics of, grip, stance and delivery, and progressing to become competent bowlers is most rewarding. At Whitehall we use the Junior Challenge as the backbone of our coaching sessions. We use a series of disciplines to achieve a bronze, silver or gold award. These sessions are aimed to be fun and short, because all they really desire is to play bowls. After fifteen minutes of that, we progress on to a game, during which we introduce the laws and rules of the game as they come up. I take great pride in seeing them progress, from bounce games to friendlies, first competitions and, eventually, playing for their club on a Friday night. Also knowing that in committing time to coaching young people, and seeing them progress in the game, ensures that the future of bowling is continuous. Young people are the future of bowling and in them, bowling is in safe hands.”

Alan received an impressive 7 nominations during round 4 of our awards, from fellow club members as well as from the juniors he coaches. We got in touch to find out more about why they had put Alan forward for this award.

Grace Whitley, Secretary of Whitehall BC, highlighted the importance of volunteers in keeping clubs running and explained more about the impact that Alan’s coaching has on the local community:

“With member numbers dwindling year by year within our sport, without volunteers many clubs would have to fold. All roles within Whitehall, e.g. bar, kitchen, greenkeeping, gardening, etc. are carried out by volunteers and we could not run the Club within them.

“Alan has been one of our Club Coaches for many years and dedicates his time, effort and patience to ensure that new or potential members of all ages are instructed on correct delivery, the rules of the game, bowls etiquette and discipline. As Youth Development Co-ordinator for the Bon-Accord Bowling Association, he runs regular Hat Night sessions throughout the season on various greens in Aberdeen, culminating in Finals night at Whitehall under floodlights. From September to April each year, he also runs coaching classes at Aberdeen Indoor Bowling Club. I'm sure that many of the Bon-Accord BA players in Bowls Scotland events and Aberdeen Indoor players in SIBA competitions would agree that credit is due to Alan for his coaching during their early bowling years.”

Apart from his role as Club Coach, Alan takes responsibility for looking after our green - although he will not accept the official title of Greenkeeper as this is just not his style! Although he has now moved out of the city centre and now lives 8 miles out of town, he is at the Club almost every day to ensure that everything is running smoothly and that there are no issues with ties in the Club diary which he also maintains. As an added extra, Alan is an electrician by trade and looks after all our Club requirements in this area!

“I can think of no-one in the area who deserves a National Volunteer Award more than Alan and the club are delighted that our efforts in submitting applications on his behalf have finally been successful!”

We also spoke to Leanne and Rhiannon who also submitted nominations for Alan based on his commitment to introducing young people to the sport of bowls:

Alan was nominated by ourselves due to the fact he has been a fantastic coach to the kids. My daughter only started a year ago and has played in numerous competitions away and at home, my son has been playing for about 8 years, again competition home and away, he played in Ayr last year and it's all down to the support and help from Alan. Alan always listens, helps them, has faith in them and supports them in every game. It is great to see volunteers like Alan have the determination to keep the bowls community alive by bringing these kids up and moving them forward. He really is a diamond and so deserves to have the recognition of this award.” 

Another nomination came from Leonard Mackay who highlighted the range of volunteering that Alan takes on for the club:

“I nominated Alan for this award for the tremendous for volunteering work he does at Whitehall bowling club doing the green work. Then he does a tremendous work taking all the young children twice a week for bowling coaching and adults that have just started bowling. And if the young bowlers are away playing somewhere in a competition Alan is always there watching the kids. l have had the pleasure of playing with my two grandchildren in a competition in Falkirk and yes, Alan was there watching us! THIS man most definitely deserves our nominations, and I am very happy he got that award” 

A huge thank you to all those at Whitehall BC who nominated Alan for this award, truly deserved for the wealth of work he does across many roles. A final word from our National Volunteer Award winner on how it felt to have been nominated:

“Knowing that I have been nominated multiple times by my young bowlers, gives me great satisfaction, in that they are acknowledging that I help them to progress to the level of bowling they wish to play at. At the end of each session they always thank me, which is reward enough in itself. To have been nominated by them is the icing on the cake.”

Nominations for our National Volunteer Awards are open year-round, to find out more click here.


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