WILTSHIRE teenager James Viner has spoken of his surprise at his success in the 2021 England Athletics Regional Volunteer Awards.

The 17-year-old Sheldon School student from Grittleton was named the South West Young Volunteer of the Year in an on-line ceremony last week and will now be considered for the national competition.

“I knew I had been nominated and it was a bit of a surprise when I heard I had won,” said Viner.

“I didn’t volunteer to help at the club (Yate & District AC, where Viner is a member) to win awards but more to help young people of a similar age to me to enjoy athletics like I do. It is really satisfying to see people get something out of the sport.”

At this point it is worth remembering that Viner is an active, ambitious athlete in his own right. He finished fifth in the English Schools’ Championships, won a bronze at the South West Inter-Counties Championships and was runner-up in the Wiltshire Championships.

He will end 2021 seventh in the UK Rankings for under 20 men – fourth best in the South West – and threw PBs in the hammer (59.61m), discus (27.92m) and shot (10.81m).

For most youngsters just chasing their own dreams would fill up their time – not to mention studying for A levels – but Viner is clearly cut from different cloth as he spends so much of his free time helping out at the club.

“In the summer I am at the club from Tuesday to Sunday and in the winter Tuesday to Saturday helping to coach in the Academy for kids aged 6-11,” revealed Viner.

“I also do some officiating and help out in the kitchen and bar as well. I like to keep myself busy!”

For 2022, Viner is aiming to win a national medal at the English Schools’ and England Athletics U20 Championships, but those are unlikely to give him any greater pleasure than seeing the youngsters he coaches enjoy the sport.

“The aim is to inspire a generation, which was the slogan from the 2012 London Olympics,” added Viner.

“Getting young people to volunteer and help out is the way forward. If every young person did one night a week at their club that would be a massive help.”