At the recent Berwick Sports Awards evening badminton featured strongly. Bill Dougal, Daniel Mulholland and the High School Girls Team all won awards.
Berwick, situated right on the border with Scotland, has an outstanding badminton volunteer – a certain very modest gentleman called Bill Dougal, who has deservedly scooped 2 awards for his exceptional and long standing services to badminton in Berwick. Last year Bill was the recipient of one of Northumberland Badminton Association’s 3 Volunteer Awards. Recently, at the annual Berwick Sports Awards, he received the “Service to Sport” Award. In fact badminton also took two other Berwick Sports Awards – “Coach of the Year” (Daniel Mulholland) and “Junior Team of the Year” (Berwick Academy KS4 Girls Team).
Bill Dougal started playing badminton at the age of 15 in a local village hall where you had to thread the shuttle through the rafters. There was no such thing as a high serve there! When he married, he moved into Berwick and played for the Parish club. He ran that club very successfully for many years – they were virtually unbeaten in the League and had a thriving junior club. When the hall used by the club was sold, the club merged with Springhill club at Spittal. Bill, once again, became the mainstay of running the club and still is to this day. He is very active in trying to recruit new members and always encourages junior members. Bill still, at the age of 78:
- Plays at the club night on Mondays
- Goes to every junior training night
- Plays regularly with and against his grandchildren
- Is the Chairman of Springhill Club
- Organises the two teams playing in the Berwick & District League and one team playing in the Borders League
- Attends every league match in both Leagues to offer support
- Can always be seen selling raffle tickets at local tournaments and makes sure there is an abundance of raffle prizes
It is an extremely rare occurrence if Bill ever misses any of the above. It would be impossible to count the hours Bill has dedicated to badminton in Berwick over the last 60 years, but it can be said with absolute confidence that no-one has done more to promote and maintain the sport in the town.
In fact, badminton is doing really well in Berwick at the moment, with adult club nights attracting more players, the junior club with regular attendances of over 30 each week, with older juniors progressing into the senior club and starting to represent the club in the local League, a ladies’ Try Badminton course full, and more badminton being played in schools – evidenced by a huge entry in the Center Parcs National Schools Championships! Added to this the news that the Berwick Junior Club is now a Premier Club! Northumberland BA’s Secretary Norma Waterfield commented “The North Northumberland Community Badminton Network has definitely given a boost to badminton in the north of our County. It is great to see such encouraging developments in Berwick, and also in Alnwick, where we have new junior and adult clubs and a lot more people hitting a shuttle! Well done to all the volunteers and coaches!”