Head coach at Bishop Auckland table tennis club, Matt Porter, has made it through to the final of the Prestigious Bobby Robson Leading Light award at the Northern Echo Local Heroes awards.The award recognises those who demonstrate, over time, their commitment to and passion for, achievements in any sport at any level in the North-East. The finalists are seen as a role model by those in their sport and will have led by example; demonstrating the positive impact sport can have on people and communities.
Matt, who founded the club back in 2012, volunteers over 60 hours each week, from coaching sessions to marketing.
“I was shocked to say the least” said Matt “first I knew about it was a day or two before it was in the Northern Echo when I got a call about doing some filming for the award ceremony. I had to stop the woman and ask what she was talking about, no one had told me they had nominated me and still haven’t. As a club we’ve been finalists twice before and performed twice before so know the Bobby Robson leading light award is fantastic award and has such a strong standard of finalist, as do all the awards”
This isn’t the first award Matt has won. In the past he has won National coach of the year in 2014 and County Durham Sports Coach of the year 2013 and this year picked up North East Disability coach of the year.
The club, based at Bishop Barrington School since it was founded, has won the Table Tennis England club of the year in 2016 was runner up in 2018 and won North East Club of the year 2019, County Durham sports Junior sports club of the year in 2013 and 2016. The club has produced over 50 National ranked players and had 25 players represent the county and two play for England. The club has won the Junior British League 3-times, The National Junior League twice and the National Cadet League 3 times. The weekly timetable sees the club deliver over 33 hours of table tennis from primary age groups to its senior sessions and is always open to new players.