Star salute to sports volunteers

PUBLISHED: 11:24 17 September 2009 | UPDATED: 17:10 25 August 2010

AN OLYMPIC champion was on hand to crown a father-of-three as volunteer of the year .

AN OLYMPIC champion was on hand to crown a father-of-three as 'volunteer of the year'.

Linford Christie crowned swimming and aquatics volunteer

Eddy Beager, 53, from Plumstead, as London Youth Games Volunteer of the Year at a star-studded ceremony on the South Bank on Tuesday evening.

The retired postal worker has been volunteering in Eltham with the inter-borough Youth Games for more than 12 years.

He said: "I just fell into it. My daughter Susan started swimming and after that it has been more of a job.

"I just can't believe I have won to be honest. I thought someone was playing a joke on me.

"It means a lot."

Another volunteer Magdalene Lewis, from Kidbrooke, was awarded the Balfour Beatty Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Greenwich Bouncers Trampoline Academy, where she is now training to be a trampolining judge.

She said: "It is second nature to me. I like giving something back to society. I don't think a lot of people realise how rewarding volunteering can be. It is not what is taking being taken out of your time but about what you get back."

At the ceremony in The Room By the River was Olympic gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu and Chicago Bulls star and President Obama's favourite basketball player Luol Deng, who were all inducted into the Youth Games' new Hall of Fame.

Five-time world champion Dervis Konuralp, a paralympic swimmer, was also inducted. The visually impaired athlete who used to compete in the Youth Games on the Greenwich team told the guests he "felt really proud to represent my borough".

Three-times Olympic medallist Steve Backley, who used to represent Bexley, was not there in person to be inducted but sent a short video message.

He said: "It is an honour and I am thoroughly grateful.

"The Youth Games gave me a real insight to be part of a team. It wasn't just me, I was trying to perform for, it was the rest of my team."

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