Award gives trampoline man a spring in his step
THE founder of a popular trampoline club, which has provided enjoyment for hundreds of youngsters, has been honoured in the British Volunteer Awards.
Paul Harrison, 77, set up the North Bristol Trampoline Club in 1982, after being asked for help by children from Southmead. He bought the first trampoline with his own money and built up the club to six trampolines in two venues, raised the funding for 20 coaches and judges, and provided transport for children who could not participate otherwise.
Over the years, he has never missed a training session and one young member of the club now trains with the British Olympic team.
Mr Harrison was named as one of 20 volunteers of the year in The Sunday Telegraph/Waitrose British Volunteer Awards.
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Gail Smith, who nominated him, said: "Through his own selflessness, he has made trampolining accessible to all, and not just to the rich."
Coach Helen Hill told The Post: "Paul has been an inspiration to the children and adults of Southmead and Lawrence Weston for many years. Having set up North Bristol Trampoline club to give an outlet to deprived children through the discipline and fun of trampolining, he has helped many families have fun and look out for one another whilst learning a discipline and getting fit.
"I, along with other coaches, initially got involved in the club through attending myself and was then encouraged by Paul to progress through the levels and then, via club funding, attend judging and then coaching courses to help facilitate the club to grow.
"Not only does Paul coach the trampolining sessions but he has also arranged for other sporting activities for the club during summer holidays such as boating, orienteering, fun days and rock climbing.
"Paul is always a smiling friendly face, who is a fantastic person to know and thoroughly deserved the accolade of volunteer of the year.
"Without him, the club would not exist and have helped so many hundreds of families over the last three decades he has run the club."
Mr Harrison, who lives in Patchway, said: "No one person is a club and any honours simply underline the outstanding nature of the group.
"Too much individual praise can fracture a group but I am nevertheless very proud to receive the award."
Mr Harrison received £500 for the club, and is now looking for a business to match it as a sponsor. Anyone who is interested can contact coach Ms Hill on 0117 950 0017.