COV The Winners 2

Unsung Sporting Heroes Celebrated

Sporting heroes honoured at 2023 Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards

The sportscotland COV Awards took place on Thursday 2nd November at Glasgow City Chambers, celebrating all those who break down barriers, inspire and enhance the lives of others through sport, and recognise the commitment of those who apply their own time and effort to make sport accessible to all. 

Mel Young, Chair of sportscotland, said: “Every year the Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards provide us with the opportunity to celebrate people across the country who have given so much of their time and dedication to Scottish sport and are making such an impact on their sport and community. 

“Over the course of the last year, we have seen thousands of sporting enthusiasts who give up hours and hours of their own daily lives, to make a difference in sport and physical activity and who have an understanding what an impact that can have on people’s lives. The people we are celebrating have taken that recognition and turned it into life-changing ambition and force for good.” 

“Funding for so many of these local clubs and communities that we have celebrated tonight, would not be possible without the National Lottery, and we thank them for their continued support. Throughout the years, the contribution from the National lottery players has truly changed lives and supported people and communities to improve and grow.’’

Find out more about the winners from our 12 categories below. 

Young Coach of the Year - Alice Boucher (Gymnastics) 

A former competitive gymnast and Level 2 TeamGym and Acro coach, Alice is passionate about the sport and its benefits. She has created a welcoming and inclusive space for both adults and children to participate, tailoring sessions to each individual’s abilities and goals and building up their confidence.



Community Coach of the Year - Mhairi Lake (Netball) 

Mhairi has been working hard to develop netball in the Clydesdale area, with the local club growing significantly across all age groups under her leadership. Her commitment to sport extends beyond netball, leading various fitness sessions in the community and working with local sports hubs on multi-sports programmes.



Performance Pathway Coach of the Year - Mark Stevenson (Wheelchair Basketball)

Mark has overseen the success of Scotland’s top wheelchair basketball squads as Head Coach over the last few years including the Scotland U18 National Academy in their British Wheelchair Basketball Junior League win. Mark is always willing to provide additional coaching and support which has seen several of his athletes invited to train with GB squads.



Coach Developer of the Year - Lesley McKenna (Multi-sport) 

Lesley has supported coaches across a wide variety of sports within the Scottish and UK High-Performance systems. Over the last year, Lesley has been working closely with a cohort of coaches with disabilities in boccia and has had a huge impact on developing these performance coaches.



Disability Sport Coach of the Year - David Gillespie (Badminton) 

David is a volunteer coach and committee member of Glasgow Disability Badminton Club where he leads weekly badminton sessions for adults. David has supported events including the SDS West Para Sport Festival and has driven the inclusion of a Learning Disability section within the Glasgow & North Strathclyde Badminton Group adult league.



High Performance Coach of the Year - Hamish McKnight (Snowboarding) 

Hamish is the Head Coach of Snowboard Freestyle at GB Snowsport and has achieved the top level of coaching qualifications while supporting athletes to Olympic and World Championship success. Hamish is well known for championing equality in the sport and promoting equal opportunities for female athletes to access high-performance coaching and support.



Young Volunteer of the Year - Lauren Matthews (Netball) 

Lauren is the chairperson of the Central Netball Association, making her the youngest chairperson of a local netball association in Scotland. Over the past year, she has launched the association’s first-ever social, senior, and junior leagues. Lauren is passionate about netball and has also established and led an umpiring mentor scheme to further develop the sport.  



School Sport Volunteer of the Year - Neil Ferrier (Multi-sport) 

Neil has been volunteering with Dundee Active Schools since 2021 and has clocked up over 800 hours supporting his cluster schools. He leads on and assists with numerous activities including football clubs, basketball clubs, and multisport events. Neil is committed to ensuring young people have access to good quality sporting opportunities and dedicates his own time to make that happen.



Volunteer of the Year - Stephen Sutton (Cricket) 

Stephen has made an extraordinary impact on his club, his volunteering hours covering everything from coaching, training, and fundraising to cleaning the club building. Stephen has driven diversity and inclusion at the club, creating a plan for low-income families and ensuring that cricket is promoted to groups too often left out of the sport.



Young Official of the Year - Sam McLellan (Fencing) 

At age 22, Sam has achieved remarkable success, becoming the youngest FIE-certified sabre fencing referee in the world. He has officiated at international fencing events including U20 and U17 World Cup events. Sam continues to volunteer as a referee at domestic age group events and actively supports the growth of fencing in Scotland, leading workshops and seminars.

Official of the Year - Linda Atkinson (Artistic Swimming)

Linda is the highest qualified artistic swimming judge in Scotland and a G-Level Judge for World Aquatics. Over the last year, the sport has undergone significant changes to improve accessibility. Linda has embraced this, not only revalidating her own qualifications but also being a key player in introducing new rules and providing guidance to officials at all levels throughout Scotland.


Lifetime Achievement Award - Raza Sadiq (Multi-sport) 

Raza is a is a remarkable figure whose 24 years of dedicated service as the founder and chairperson of Active Life Club have touched countless lives. His commitment to inclusion and to actively tackling barriers has transformed lives, empowering individuals of all ages and abilities. Raza's mentorship has inspired so many to participate and compete in their chosen sports but also to give back to their own communities.



Find out more

Visit our website to find out more about the Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards.


Share links

Related Articles


Disability Coach of the Year 2023

A dedicated and inspirational Glasgow based badminton coach was honoured at the 2023 sportscotland COV Awards. 

Read More
COV Lesley Mckenna 2 Resize

Coach Developer of the Year 2023

A talented athlete and coach from the Scottish Highlands was recognised at the 2023 sportscotland COV Awards. 

Read More
COV Mark Stevenson 2 Resize

Performance Pathway Coach of the Year 2023

Devoted Coach from West Lothian was recognised at the 2023 sportscotland COV Awards. 

Read More