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A Leighton Buzzard golfer has been honoured with an “Unsung Hero” award by the sports’ leading body for his work in steering his club through the year-long pandemic crisis.

Simon Rossiter had only been Captain of Leighton’s Plantation Road club for three months when national lockdown measures were imposed to help curb the spread of the deadly Covid 19 virus.

Although the lockdown restrictions were initially eased in May last year,  strict safety, health and social distancing conditions had to be complied with throughout the year – with Simon heading the management team making sure staff, members and guests remained safe and kept informed of developments.

Simon, 55, put his experience as a former RAF Chinook pilot to good use as the Leighton club navigated its way through ever-changing lockdown rules and a second lockdown in January which has now been relaxed.  Club competitions and social events have had to be cancelled and inter-club matches postponed..Clubhouse access and catering facilities remain restricted.

In recognition of his commitment, the Leighton club nominated Simon for the England Golf “Unsung Hero” award, a competition aimed at recognising “amazing deeds” carried out by members at affiliated clubs.

Engand Golf Chief Executive Jeremy Tomlinson in naming Simon an “Unsung Hero” wrote: “We were told how you put the golf club first and ensured all staff, volunteers and committees were looked after and communicated to at all times. Your organisational skills were used to the full to give all members the best opportunity to continue to enjoy the golf course and club without compromising their health and safety.

“On behalf of England Golf, I would like to convey a huge thank you for your contribution to the game and our community. Golf would not be able to function without the support of people like you.”

Simon, who was appointed Operations Director of the Driving Standards Agency following his RAF service, joined the Leighton club in 2010 and has been on the management committee for several years.

Says Simon, a Classic Car enthusiast and ongoing Captain of the Leighton club: “I am humbled and extremely grateful to have been recognised for this award which I accept not just for myself, but the whole Leighton club team, staff and volunteers who have worked through the challenges and kept the club and course in excellent condition throughout.  I also share the award equally with club colleague Trevor McAleese who, as our operations director, has been instrumental in preparing and improving our clubhouse facilities and ensuring all regulations and safety procedures are followed.”