Mathew Lamb – or Minty as he’s known on the pitch – has a fond memory of a sporty childhood:
“I look back and I remember lots of people who invested so much time and effort to put things on for the kids. They were enjoyable times. I guess that’s where my passion for volunteering stems from. I want to help provide that childhood and those opportunities for the kids today.”
And he’s doing a great job. It’s now his 17th junior season coaching football. He has overseen the development of the Junior Boys and Girls team for the last ten years – and, in that time, there has been a huge increase on the numbers of children stepping onto the pitch every week.
He juggles a gazillion responsibilities at the club. He is Vice Chair and Treasurer and manages to oversee the girls’ teams and the junior disability side, as well as countless other duties.
His work with the girls’ teams has seen dramatic results. “It took off about three years ago. I actually can’t believe it. We had 8-10 girls initially and last year we had up to 73 girls registered.” An incredible achievement for any club – let alone one located in a small, rural area.
The secret to success: “We make things fun and we make sure the girls feel comfortable. And, that way, they’ll keep coming back week after week.
“I also look after the disability side and that’s just like a bottle of medicine. These kids have been through a lot and they’re overcoming adversity every day. They are absolute stars, every one of them.”
Mathew has played a major role in the development of the new football pitch and facilities at Tregoes. But even with a new home ground, such is Mathew’s and the club’s commitment to provide sporting opportunities locally – they still don’t have enough room:
“Our next venture is junior cricket so there’s something we can offer in the summer months. We ran a pilot and it went really well.”
As well as some 20 hours of volunteering, he also holds down a full time position for the local authority:
“My partner and I do joke about it. I get home and I’m off out to the club straight away. But if you love, you’ll do it,” he shrugs. “At the end of training, all the kids say “Thanks Minty”. You can’t ask for anymore can you?,” he smiles.
And his reaction to being nominated for the Wales Sports Awards:
“I was totally speechless when I was told. I have grown up watching Sports Personality and I never thought I’d get to anything like this. To be there – in such a bumper year for sport – will be an unbeatable experience.”