Helen Richardson 1200

21 June, 2023

Stalwart volunteer Helen Richardson has given selfless amounts of her time to badminton in England for more than 20 years. 

The 63-year-old, who referees, organises and sits on the ICT management committee, has been recognised for her tireless efforts by Badminton England with an award that acknowledges her ‘long-standing exceptional service’ to the sport. 

Originally from Kent, Richardson first gave badminton a go in the 1970s, following in the footsteps of her father, and started volunteering in 2000 when her sons first joined the Essex junior squad. 

Alongside husband Eric, she vows to keep going for as long as she loves giving back to the local and national game. 

“I got involved in it because they needed people to do things when my sons were playing,” she said. 

“I’ve just always been one of these people where if somebody says, ‘we need somebody to do this,’ I’ll do it. 

“There’s a certain amount of giving back and there was a certain element of going to tournaments when my son was playing and thinking, ‘I could do a better job of this’. 

“We do a good job and we’re well supported by the competitions department and by Badminton England. 

“I see ourselves keeping going for as long as it doesn’t become a chore — we love it at the moment so we’ll keep organising events for as long they want us to.” 

Now based in Hampshire, Richardson has seen many juniors go through the ranks. 

And she is often recognised at senior competitions by competitors, some of whom have gone on to represent England. 

“Eric and I still referee a lot of events because the kids are great and we also run a few senior tournaments. 

“There are players there that I can remember being U11 now playing senior and adult. 

“They always remember me and come and chat to me so it’s really rewarding that we can provide the facilities for these people to play. 

“A lot of them have seen us run events in Essex or Hampshire and I think most of them think we work for Badminton England. 

“But that’s why we do it, we enjoy it.” 

Ethan Rose, Devon Minnis and Russ brothers Jonty and Zach are just some of the high-profile names Richardson has been supporting from their junior to senior careers. 

And Richardson is paving the way for future organisers to ensure badminton is kept to the same high standards she has maintained over the years. 

She added: “I’m down as a mentor and I’m always happy for people to ask for advice. 

“Some organisers are probably less experienced, sometimes to fit an event in they slightly tweak the regulations. 

“But we pride ourselves on running it well and to the regulations, we’re that sort of people, and we like it to be done properly.” 

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