SALE Sharks’ Paula Bradbury has won the Community Volunteer for the Year Award

Paula was presented with the trophy at the House of Commons on Tuesday 4 July.

One of the Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community awards, the prize was given for Paula’s work in promoting women’s rugby in Greater Manchester.

Supported by BT, the award recognises the work of volunteers promoting rugby related community initiatives with hundreds of people up and down the country giving their time to support Premiership Rugby initiatives.

Paula started a women’s’ and girls’ section at Winnington Park RFC back in 2013. Over the past four years that section has grown so that it now has an under-18 team. She set up the girl’s team after her daughter wanted to play and Paula found out was no team in the area offering girls rugby.

Commenting on her award, Paula said: “It was a bit surreal to collect the award as I am sure they are plenty of other volunteers who deserve it too. It means an awful lot because it promotes girls’ and women’s rugby. Both my children play and they enjoy both the social side of it and it is like having a second family. There is a place for everyone on a rugby pitch and that is what I firmly believe and what I try to promote.”

BT Charity and Community Director Suzy Christopher, who was on the judging panel, believes the success of the women’s game in the Sale area would have been impossible without Paula.

She said: “Without Paula women’s rugby in the area would not have developed as it has. She is a remarkable woman and a worthy winner of the Volunteer Award.”

Paul Farrelly, MP for Newcastle-Under-Lyme, added: “The Premiership Rugby programmes would not be what they are without the selfless contribution from volunteers like Paula.”