A MAN who dedicates his free time to promoting women’s rugby has been recognised for his hard work with an award.
Dean Dryhurst, 48, was one of nine winners of the 2017 Real Rugby Heroes award at Twickenham.
He was nominated by staff at Oaklands Catholic School in Waterlooville for his support with the school’s rugby team over the past five years.
Dean, who works for BAE Systems at Portsmouth naval base, said: ‘I’ve been coaching years 7 to 11 and the girls’ after-school clubs.
‘I ran a taster session two years ago at Oaklands to get interest for girls’ rugby and over 40 turned up, so the school decided to make it an extra-curriculum activity. I try to support all the years that I coach and use my overtime and holiday so that I can support the after-school clubs and Saturday fixtures.’
Dean, who is also lead coach for Havant Ladies, was one of nine people nationally to be given a Real Rugby Heroes award this year.
The scheme is run by the England Rugby Football Schools Union and England Rugby partner, NatWest.
Dean collected the award, which rewards those volunteering their efforts helping school rugby, at a presentation on March 29 at Twickenham. The nomination came as a surprise for the coach.
Dean said: ‘I was very shocked. They are all busy people, so for someone to spend their time writing something up about me and having to go through the whole process of getting it stamped by RFU, I was really chuffed.
‘The other candidates were all teachers and they were in awe of the work that I had done. That made it extra special.
“It really was an amazing day from start to finish.’ Dean said he would not be stopping and would be carrying on with his coaching.
He added: ‘I’m looking to make the girls’ side more successful. I’ll continue supporting the school in any way that I can, helping to promote rugby.
‘I think I’ll also be remaining as the lead coach for Havant ladies. At the start of the season we struggled to get the numbers but now we’re able to field a full squad.’
Dean encouraged people to come along to one of his clubs. Havant Rugby Club will be hosting two events and no prior rugby experience is needed.
The Inner Warrior camp will be on Saturday, May 20 at 2pm. It’s open to ladies and U13-U18 girls.
O2 touch will be running from Thursday, May 11 until Thursday, June 22 at 6.45pm for men and women over 14.