Skating coach acknowledged

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Dedicated . . . South Canterbury Speed Skating Club coach Cheryl Begg (back) has been named the second Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury Volunteer of the Month, due to her work with young speed skaters. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

Cheryl Begg has been rollerskating since she was 12.

Now 59, her long history of encouraging young people into speed skating has been recognised, after she was chosen as the second Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury Volunteer of the Month.

The South Canterbury Speed Skating Club coach can be spotted down at the Caroline Bay rink several days a week, coaching skaters aged 5 and up.

She met her husband, master speed skating coach Bill, through the sport, and their daughter Nicole has also been a world champion.

“He’s just a fanatic,” she says of her husband.

However, after more than eight years’ volunteering at the Timaru club, the same could be said of Mrs Begg’s passion for the sport.

All ready . . . Overseeing another training session for young speed skaters, Bill and Cheryl Begg. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

When the couple returned to Mr Begg’s home town over a decade ago, the skating rink was old and in need of an upgrade.

So they enlisted Nicole to promote the sport as she was an international champion at the time – and never looked back.

After starting out with about seven members, the club now boasts about 50 young athletes on wheels.

She keeps an eye on the Sunday afternoon recreational skaters, spotting potential talent and inviting them to try speed skating.

Mrs Begg is positive about the many benefits of skating, particularly as it teaches more than just sporting success.

She says the young skaters learn about dedication, time management, the importance of showing up to practice and what can be achieved if they put the effort in.

Another noticeable trait when The Courier visits the rink is the way the young skaters fall over – right on to the concrete – and get back up again.

“It makes them tough,” Mrs Begg says.

  • Cheryl Begg was named the second Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury Volunteer of the Month and received a voucher for Zest, which was donated by the restaurant. To nominate someone for the award or inquire about volunteering, contact Lou Billinghurst on (03) 687-7364 or volmsc@xtra.co.nz or pop into the office at Community House, 27 Strathallan St.