As part of our series of posts about the people who power the fencing community in the UK, meet Ruth Robson, treasurer and trustee at Newcastle Fencing Club and Sports Trust.
Q: Who are you, what is your role at your club, what does it entail and how did you get into it?
My name is Ruth Robson. I am a Trustee and the Treasurer of Newcastle Fencing and Sports Trust.
We are a Trust which was set up to provide a venue and run courses in fencing and other sports (we specialise in Modern Pentathlon, 10m air pistol and laser run). I was asked to become the Treasurer because of my past experience as Treasurer of many sports clubs over the years including Newcastle Fencing Club. I am a Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary, so I have many skills that can be used in a club, thus saving a large amount of money. My role is multi-faceted, I keep the financial records and ensure that we keep up with all company and charity legislation and I organise competitions. I love organising and the opportunity to run a competition for novice fencers or a BRC for 80 fencers is fabulous –fast, difficult, frustrating, challenging but so rewarding!
Q: What do you love most about the club, the sport and your contribution to it forward?
I like the challenge of the Trust, we spend a vast amount of time trying to develop our offering through beginners’ courses and work through schools and with the local community. We continue to develop and run courses and then direct those who wish to carry on into the club, this is satisfying because at that point their participation can really flourish with like-minded individuals of all abilities. I really enjoy the sport of fencing, having watched my daughter fence at many levels over the years, from Scottish YDS to the Cadet Commonwealths, I have finally taken up adult sabre – it is definitely harder than it looks, but great fun!
Q: If you could say one thing to a young person thinking about supporting the running of a fencing club, what would you say to inspire them?
Volunteering is an incredibly motivating experience – you can do as much or as little as you wish. It gives you a chance to work with new people in a team, whilst learning and gaining skills that you would never have considered – last week I learnt how to mend and solder a spool, when we opened the venue I learnt how to plumb a toilet – all useful skills!
Q: How does your club welcome people into the club to volunteer?
We encourage anyone to volunteer and share their skills – everyone has something to bring and share. We are in the process of creating an adult fencing group and have many ladies who just want to have a go. We welcome everyone no matter their background or gender or ability.
Q: What’s it like being female and playing a crucial role at a fencing club?
I worked in many businesses which were male dominated so have no issues with holding a crucial role as a lady and do not feel that I am treated differently because I am female. I have always done my best and this is something that I have brought to my volunteering role. I do suspect that the stereotypical multi-tasking ability associated with my gender also helps!
Q: Who inspired you or has inspired you to get into fencing and what would you say to thank them?
My daughters are the reason why I have volunteered in the wide variety of sports over the years. For my time in fencing I would have to thank Emilia, my youngest. Her hard work and dedication at training and in competition truly inspires me and has provided some marvellous memories. Thank you, Millie.
Q: What has been your most rewarding volunteer moment so far?
Most rewarding moment of volunteering was at the Cadet Commonwealths in Newcastle this summer where I was helping. I was invited to represent North East Fencing as a VIP in the medal ceremony and awarded my daughter and her Scottish team mates the Gold medal in Cadet Girls Epee. This was the most amazing experience which would never have occurred had I not been a volunteer.
Ruth presenting the medals at the Commonwealths in Newcastle, 2018.
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