Unsung hero Katie up for award

Katie Jackson and the Leighton Ladies
Katie Jackson and the Leighton Ladies

The busiest body at Leighton Buzzard Hockey Club has been nominated for a top prize for her tireless work.

From recruitment to refreshments, there’s very little Katie Jackson isn’t involved in at LBHC, so it comes as little surprise that she has made it to the final three of the BBC Sport Unsung Hero award for the region.

Katie has been a member of the club for 15 years, initially as just a player, but her role quickly became more involved.

Not only a regular with the Ladies 2nds now, Katie also encourages people to come and join the club with the line ‘fancy a cup of tea and a game of hockey?’

But she’s also a coach for the youngsters coming through, raises sponsorship for the club single-handedly and arranges all of the club’s social events, ably assisted by Tim Bellamy, who nominated her for the gong.

“It was a surprise being nominated,” admitted Katie. “But Tim did say he’d do it, I just didn’t expect him to go through with it!

“I’ve been involved with this club for 15 years, and I absolutely love it.

“I’ve always loved hockey, but stopped playing when I left school. When I loved locally, someone said they played here, so I came along and I’ve been here ever since.

“My role quickly got more involved, joining the committee, and from there, I took on pretty much everything else as well.

“It’s a full time job, and it takes up the weekends too, of course. I’ve even given up being a captain to let someone else have a go!

“But it’s what I love.”

In her nomination, Tim wrote: “Katie is a true inspiration to players, supporters, parents and all associated with LBHC.

“Without her dedication and commitment, the club would not function as smoothly and would not be attracting new players, young and old, to participate in the sport.”

Katie’s dedication sees her out on the pitch even when she’s not playing.

Not only does she coach youngsters coming up through the ranks, she provides teas for everyone on Sunday mornings and has recently finished a course to become an umpire.

She said: “These are all jobs that have to be done, so I just do them.”

As part of her nomination, Katie has been filmed with her team-mates.

“That was fun, but a bit strange!” she admitted. “It’s a really great feeling to be nominated for the work I do.

“It takes a lot of effort, and my husband sometimes wonders why I bother, but it’s what I love doing, and wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Her segment will be shown on BBC Look East later this week.