A SPORTS coach who has helped hundreds of youngsters try their hand at his favourite sport has been honoured with a trophy.
Ken Sykes has won the Whitley Bay Town Cup for his commitment to helping youngsters learn and play rugby league over the last five years.
And the former accountant, who founded Whitley Bay Barbarians Rugby League Club in 1994, is delighted to have won the accolade.
Ken said: “I started Whitley Bay Barbarians after my two sons left another team, and to my amazement, they asked if I could coach them and their pals.
“I suppose the rest – as they say – is history.
“I coach because I can’t help it. I absolutely love it.
“The very best bit of the game for me is seeing the children having lots of fun playing rugby league.
“Very close to that is seeing them blossom. When they start to realise there is nothing to be afraid of, and that they can actually play the game, and play it well.
“It’s a terrific game and I hope to go on coaching for as long as I can.”
Ken was nominated for the award by David Burton, a teacher at Star of the Sea RC Primary School.
David said: “Ken has run coaching sessions in local schools, giving his time for free.
“He coaches every morning and afternoon during term time, and the children love his enthusiasm for rugby league.
“Ken has started a North Tyneside Schools’ Rugby League Festival and League, allowing many young people to learn the game. He is reliable, dedicated and enthusiastic.
“He’s a great ambassador – not just for the Whitley Bay Barbarians – but also for the entire town.”
Ken was presented with his cup by North Tyneside Council chairman Coun John Stirling at a full council meeting last week.
Coun Stirling said: “Ken thoroughly deserves our recognition and congratulations for the work he has undertaken with the young people in our borough.”