Will Mellersh 1 1200x410 1

January 26, 2023

Influential coach Will Mellersh has received one of Britain’s highest honours for his tireless service to the badminton community across Chew Valley and Avon.

Mellersh, 52, has been appointed a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for his work both as head coach at Chew Valley Badminton Club and in a wider role within the Avon Badminton Association.

His badminton journey initially started over 40 years ago, falling in love with the sport after first picking up a racket as a child.

“I started playing when I was eight at Chew Valley, the club I now coach at,” said Mellersh.

“I played a lot of badminton as a junior, I played all over the country and a couple of places abroad.

“By the time I was 18, I had had a couple of knee operations and a lot of time out through injury, and really stopped playing competitively at the age of 18.

“I started playing again a little bit when I went to Gloucester University, where I played in BUCS, but then I really stopped playing until I was 42.”

Will Mellersh 2 1200x410 1

After two decades largely spent away from the sport, Mellersh’s return to the badminton community was sparked by a friend who was looking for someone to coach their son.

And across the following years, his bond with the sport developed as he went on to play a significant part in inspiring a new generation of players at Chew Valley and across the Avon region.

He added: “At first I was pretty hesitant about getting involved again, having not been for 20 years, but I found I could still help him [friend’s son] a little bit with what he wanted from the game. It sort of grew from there.

“I got involved in coaching on a fairly sizable level in the end, growing the junior club from 10-15 players up towards 80-100 players, and then being part of the team that grew our senior club from one team up to 16 teams we have now.

“I started playing a little bit and saw how much talent there was in the area, so I started getting involved with Avon. We helped set up a development squad and helped grow the senior squad from two teams at the time to 17 teams now.

“It’s all about community. I think sport has a huge power to unite people and badminton’s got a lovely culture. We’ve been able to grow something special down here in the area.”

The prospect of his exploits resulting in such significant recognition was never something that crossed his mind and he had to get over initial disbelief upon hearing news of his honour.

Will Mellersh 3 1200x410 1

“It was a huge surprise, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” he said. “It came via an email from the Cabinet Office in November.

“The email had all the signs of a phishing email! I naturally assumed it was a phishing email and I phoned my country and my help desk and asked if I should open it, and they said no.

“I had to do some investigating before I had the confidence to open it. I actually called the Cabinet Office just to check that it was actually true, and they confirmed it was, It was a big surprise!

“It’s been wonderful. Everybody has been so kind and supportive. It has been a huge surprise and I have had a lovely reaction from everyone I’ve worked with in badminton at Chew Valley and at Avon, and across the south west and the country.”

Sue Storey, Chief Executive of Badminton England, said: “What an outstanding achievement which Will thoroughly deserves.

“We could not run our sport without the dedicated badminton community and the impact Will has made within the Avon region is remarkable.

“I hope he continues to enjoy our wonderful sport for many more years to come!”

Recent posts

Back to news