Volunteers of the Year announced

Thursday 21 December 2023

The seemingly boundless efforts of Grace King have been recognised with the Motorsport UK Volunteer of the Year Award, a richly-deserved accolade presented annually at the Night of Champions, together with a trophy and cheque for £500.

Grace’s story started in the early 2000s where, as a member of her local Dungannon Motor Club she learnt the basics of navigation and marshalled at numerous events. She was subsequently elected to the position of Club Secretary.

Fast-forward nearly 20 years and she continues to serve the sport with enthusiasm, generosity and dedication, and is now warmly recognised as a leading light by the wider community, having also taken on the very onerous extra task of Secretary for the Association of Northern Ireland Car Clubs (ANICC).

“To define all the roles that Grace takes on would simply take too long as she is a willing team player and is happy to roll up her sleeves and get stuck into anything,” affirmed Wilson Carson, Chairman of the ANICC.

Since her appointment, Grace has endeavoured to provide leadership and guidance to all 33 of the Association’s member clubs, along with supporting the work of the elected ANICC Council and the various discipline Committee Members. In doing so, she works tirelessly for the sport, providing clubs, officials and competitors with regular email updates, as well as managing the ANICC social media.

As a result of her taking over the running of the ANICC Facebook page little more than 12 months ago, her weekly calendar of events, as well as championship updates and various information pieces have seen the number of followers increase by more than 75 per cent. Grace has also been the driving force behind the upgrade to the ANICC website, which was completed in March of this year, working with the website designer to make the portal more modern and user friendly.

When she was elected to ANICC Secretary, Grace became the first female office bearer in the ANICC history and has become a fantastic advocate and ambassador for Women in Motorsport. Grace is renowned for always striving to bring ANICC into the modern age and encouraging younger people, especially females, to get involved in motorsport.

Nor do Grace’s talents stop behind a desk at ANICC or Dungannon Motor Club. She is also a keen marshal and timekeeper on many Autotests, closed road rallies and Targa rallies throughout Northern Ireland, always doing her part to give back to motorsport.

When she finds some free time, she also competes as a navigator in Targa and Navigation rallies. Moreover, earlier this year Grace undertook the role of Clerk of the Course at Dungannon Motor Club’s charity Autosolo, roping in her family to run the busy BBQ and raising £2000 for Friends of the Cancer Centre.

“I am shocked and delighted to have the great honour of being awarded the Motorsport UK Volunteer of the Year,” said an elated and surprised Grace. “To receive recognition for volunteering in a sport I have loved from a young age has left me quite speechless and I would like to thank those who nominated me for this award.

“Motorsport has played a massive part in my life, as my father took me to events from when I was old enough to walk and it’s through competing that I met my husband. I am proud of the many things I have achieved so far in my life, but this award is most definitely one of my proudest moments.”

The efforts of John Butler-Jenkins have also been acknowledged. He has been named by Motorsport UK as Runner Up for Volunteer of the Year, having been an invaluable member of the Carmarthen Motor Club for than 50 years. He receives a trophy plus a cheque for £250.

“I feel very honoured to accept this award not just for myself, but for all the members of Carmarthen Motor Club, past and present,” said John.

While Grace and John have been singled out for these special awards, Motorsport UK congratulates – and thanks – all those volunteers without whom the sport would not function at all levels from the grassroots right up to the British Grand Prix.