That’s it from me… Thank you

Deciding what you want to do in life can be really tough.

At 14, 15, 16 – you are quizzed by the career’s advisor, your teacher and your parents – all of them trying to encourage you to make the right choice to enable you to pick the best career possible. There’s so much to consider at an age where you’re under exam pressures, you’re desperately trying to fit in and you’d actually prefer to sit at home and watch re-runs of Friends.

I loved sport when I was younger (still do by the way!). I loved being active and I couldn’t sit still. At age 15, instead of hanging out with my friends, I’d find myself on the park asking the local football team if I could help and join in. I never thought I could make a career out of sport. For the last 15 years I’ve been lucky enough to work in sport, to meet some incredible people and unearth a passion for getting people active. Some amazing people have touched my life in my career and as I sit here on my last day at Liberty Leisure Limited, I’m so grateful to so many people.

Thank you

to Dave for giving me that chance to join in at Priory Celtic Football Club on the park that day. You were the first person to give me that opportunity and I will never forget that.

Thank you

to Roy and Denise for taking me under your wing as your assistant coach. I learnt so much from you both.

Thank you

to Jim and David for letting me be a part of Kimberley Institute Cricket Club for so many years. Despite it feeling like it rained most Friday nights throughout the summer, cricket did get coached and played!

Thank you

to Norman for believing in me and my crazy ideas… thank you for helping me to set up Broxtowe Triathlon Club.

Thank you

to Kay, Zoe (Stapleford Netball Club), Pauline, Hillary (Notts Orienteering Club),  Catherine (British Nordic Walking), John, Richard, Sean (Beeston Cycling Club), Bryn, Steph,  Lech (Nottingham Casuals Rugby Club), Derek, Sarah, Richard (Awsworth Village Cricket Club), Rab, John (Beeston AC), Ian (Toton Road Runners), Steve (Broxtowe Runners), Louise, Adrian (Beeston Road Club), Alan, Jean (Kimberley Swimming Club), Geraldine (Bramcote Swimming Club), Nick, Liam (Attenborough Cricket Club), Ali and the gang (Broxtowe Triathlon Club), Norman (Chilwell Olympians Junior Badminton Club) … the list goes on… but thank you for being such a joy to work with and for letting me support you in the fantastic work you do to get people active. You are all incredible people.

And a final thank you to one person who shall remain nameless. He knows who he is. The one person who has mentored me for over 15 years. The one person who has helped me above and beyond, taught me so much, brought me endless cups of tea and inspired me. You will never know how grateful I am and how much I admire you.

It’s hard to believe that volunteering got me where I am today. Something that I enjoyed doing turned into a career and there are at least 10 people working for Liberty Leisure Limited who also started their careers by volunteering.

It’s a new start for me tomorrow somewhere else but it could be a new start for you here.

Anna Smith-Clare