Westoe RFC’s ‘Angel of the North’ gets top gong for volunteering

Eleanor Peggie with Jason Leonard.
Eleanor Peggie with Jason Leonard.
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A South Tyneside rugby club’s ‘Angel of The North’ has received a top award for her hard work.

There aren’t many jobs that 18-year-old Eleanor Peggie hasn’t done at Westoe RFC in South Shields.

What began as standing on the sidelines, watching her brother George, now, 14, play when she was 12 years old became a whole lot more when she decided to get involved in club activity.

Six years later, Eleanor has become one of the most important members in Westoe’s 140 year history.

Her efforts were recognised at the RFU President’s Awards where former rugby union prop Jason Leonard awarded her with the 14-24 People Power prize.

Jan Duncan, a volunteer at the club for 22 years and current safeguarding officer, said: “In all my time at Westoe I’ve never seen anyone have the impact she has had. She’s our very own Angel of the North.”

Eleanor, from Westoe, South Shields, got involved by helping the coaches with the warm ups and cool downs.

From there, she took charge of team registrations and membership and then joined the club’s junior committee.

Before long she was assisting with team management for the senior sides as well as helping with first aid, bringing rugby into schools and developing junior coaching.

Eleanor’s most significant role has been in linking up the senior and junior sections at Westoe.

Jan said: “It’s now become a regular part of the club, we often have senior players contributing at every junior level now and it’s all down to her.

“The way she approached it sums up her entire attitude, she gets stuck in.”

Eleanor now volunteers three days a week at the club in Dean Road.

However, after receiving top A-level results in August she’s just started a medical degree at Newcastle University.

She said: “When I started I was young and on top of that I was a girl. At first people weren’t sure what to make of me but I like to think I’ve changed that.

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it and the reason I do is because of the community atmosphere. It doesn’t feel like work and I love being part of a club that has always had an important place in the local community.”