A local rugby coach from Highbridge has received a top award for volunteer recognition.

Gareth Waterfield, who lives in Highbridge and works at Hugh Sexey Middle School, has been recognised for his work as a rugby coach for Winscombe RFU, and also as a Somerset County rugby coach.

He has won the President’s People Power Award in the coaches category from the RFU.

He was nominated by a parent from the Winscombe club and was backed by the club and also by Somerset County Rugby Head coach.

His nomination reads: “He is an exceptional coach who establishes an amazing rapport with the players. His work with both girls and boys rugby from U13 upwards is astonishing.”

“Under his guidance, individual players grow in confidence and develop in the most positive way. He has tremendous energy and is hugely generous in the time he devotes to young people in rugby.”

Gareth was invited up to Twickenham at the weekend where he was treated to a champagne reception, and a three course meal where the award winners were announced by the President of the RFU, Jason Leonard.

Gareth said he was shocked to hear he’d won and said: “This is the best award I have won in my coaching career.”

He had his photo taken on the pitch with the other winners at half-time of the England v Wales game, and was one of two winners selected to give a pitch side interview during the half time entertainment which was screened throughout the stadium of nearly 82,000 people.

Gareth has also had success with coaching rugby teams at Hugh Sexeys where the girls Under 13 team have made it to the national finals four years in a row which gave the girls the chance to play on the hallowed turf at Twickenham. The boys team also made it to the Somerset Cup finals this year.

Pictured: Top, President of the RFU, Jason Leonard, with Gareth and, above, gareth being interviewed at half time