A Falmouth Rugby Club volunteer has scooped a prestigious national award after her transformational efforts were recognised by England Rugby, having been nominated as a finalist by Cornwall RFU.

Jade Adkins, 48, has revolutionised life at Falmouth both on and off the pitch and was crowned a winner of the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year 2020 in a virtual awards ceremony on March 19.

Jade, who has managed the youth section at the club for five years, has championed welfare and protection, diversified the Falmouth clubhouse and has significantly enhanced facilities across the board.

Her inspirational efforts were recognised on a memorable Zoom call with Red Roses legend Nolli Waterman, who made a surprise appearance on her interview with television presenter Alex Payne and Mitsubishi Motors Managing Director Rob Lindley.

The Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme gives grassroots rugby clubs a unique opportunity to recognise their volunteers and Jade felt privileged to be selected as a national winner.

Jade, who has been volunteering at Falmouth for eight years and was nominated as a finalist for the prize by Cornwall RFU, said: “It’s all been quite surreal.

“I started as a parent of children who were trying many sports. When I realised that everyone around me at the Rugby club was a volunteer I felt inspired to step up and offer to help out as well.

“I also loved the TREDS culture side of rugby; Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship.

“I’m part of a much greater group of people so I’m a little bit shy about it, but it’s a real honour and I take that honour and say thank you for saying thank you – it’s greatly appreciated and I hope it inspires other people as well.

“As a club, we’re trying to be a bit more active in letting people know what is available, and trying to identify parents who have skills, because they’re all amazing at so many different things.

“We’re just trying to make sure that we’re open and if people need the space, we’re here to facilitate that.”

The Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme provides a platform to recognise all volunteers who have made a great contribution to their club and community – no matter what their role.

More than 100,000 volunteers give back to grassroots rugby all over the country and, thanks to the support of Mitsubishi Motors, their tireless work behind the scenes is being amplified nationwide.

Jade’s winning exploits honour the work she conducted before the pandemic struck, with her infectious enthusiasm, dedication and commitment putting welfare and protection issues at the heart of Falmouth’s agenda.

She has added arts and crafts areas to the clubhouse, arranged for TV programmes to be shown on a big screen for younger children and expanded the club’s catering provision through her tireless work.

An innovative kit swap scheme helped disadvantaged families access crucial provisions, while Jade has also expanded club storage space and organised community events – including making sure the club’s juniors were front and centre of the town’s carnival.

Jade’s husband, Mark, was also nominated for the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year Award and with volunteering at the heart of the family, Jade knows all about its centrality to grassroots rugby.

She added: “Grassroots rugby wouldn’t function without volunteers – it wouldn’t exist. For local club towns like this without the volunteers, it wouldn’t happen.

“Just come and be part of it. I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere off the pitch at rugby – it’s always been warm, familiar and friendly.

“As a sport, if you’re going to come out and get involved in something, I highly recommend it. It’s so welcoming, and we’re very blessed in Falmouth.”

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year. To find out more or to nominate someone you know, visit EnglandRugby.com/MMVoTY.