Littleport man given British Citizen Award for his tireless work in the local sporting community around Ely and beyond

PUBLISHED: 10:37 08 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:48 08 January 2018

Mark Jones, of Littleport, in Ely, has been given a British Citizen Award for his services to the community. PHOTO: Mark Jones

Mark Jones, of Littleport, in Ely, has been given a British Citizen Award for his services to the community. PHOTO: Mark Jones

Archant

A Littleport man has been recognised with a national honour for his work with young people in the sporting community.

Mark Jones has been given a British Citizen Award for his services to the community.

The British Citizen Awards were launched in 2015, to recognise exceptional every dsy individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society.

Mark, 46, was chosen for being a role model to young people across multiple sports and youth activities.

He has also worked nationally with the Royal Lifesaving Society as a lifesaving instructor and last year as the lead instructor for the National Survive and Save Camp.

Mark said: “I was really surprised when I was told about the award. I don’t like watching TV very much so I just fill my time with other things.

“When I was young I went to martial arts and people gave their time to run the club. I just think that if people don’t give their time, a lot of those sort of things wouldn’t exist.

“I have a young family and want my children to be able to take part in activities, which is why I’m happy to give my time to the organisations that I’m involved with.”

He was nominated by his wife Catarina who said: “Mark makes an exceptional contribution to his local community because of the breadth and depth of work and volunteering he does.

“Many people will be involved with a single activity but Mark is active in six, while maintaining a demanding job and a young family.

“Several of the activities Mark does would not survive without his involvement.”

Mark works selflessly and with great dedication to ensure that messages on water safety gets out into the community, said award representatives Nathan Rous.

In the last three years, he has trained 42 community instructors, three lifesaving instructors, seven rookie instructors and eight assistant instructors.

To do this Mark, a customer support manager for Marshalls Aerospace and Defense Group, is out three evenings a week on average, in addition to every other weekend and two full weeks a year.

He volunteers with the Ely Rookies, where he is chairman, chief instructor, and club welfare officer.

He stepped in to prevent Cambridge Academy Sunday from folding when there was no one to take on the administration of the team, especially when they got promoted in to an FA league and investigated what was needed to meet the new FA standards.

The team is now in its third season and was runner up in the final of the Cambridgeshire FA Sunday Challenge Cup last season.

Mark has recently moved to the Cambridge Unit of the Sea Cadets and with the new commanding officer is helping to turn round a failing unit.

As part of this an action plan is in place. In the first year the plan was to find new instructors, train them up and launch a new Royal Marines Cadets Detachment, which is already six months ahead of schedule with the unit winning the Darrel’s Day competition.

He has been involved with the Royal Life Saving Society for three decades, teaching vital lifesaving skills to children and adults alike.

Mark was involved in the Cambridge branch, running a club in the area for several years between 2003-2005. When the entire branch committee resigned, causing a collapse of the branch, Mark agreed to step in and rebuild it.

In its first year, he had a rebuilt a new functioning committee and has started running its first Open Water training in over a decade.

A parent governor at Colville Primary School he is an instructor and competition official at Fenland Ju Jitsu Club – a sport he has been involved in for 35 years.

In his ‘spare’ time, Mark is a relief duty manager and lifeguard at his local swimming pool.

Mark is one of 36 medallists who will be honoured at a prestigious ceremony on January 25, at the Palace of Westminster.

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