Last week Police Sport UK, supported by TeamPolice, held the first National Police Sports Awards in Manchester. The event was generously sponsored by our headline sponsor Axon with individual awards kindly sponsored by FujitsuPolice Credit UnionXPS Administration and TeamPolice.

At the event the 2021 Awards of Excellence were presented to those individuals who as well as playing sport have supported, encouraged and contributed to both sport and the police community over the years.

See below for details of award winners and their citations.  We salute you all.

Katherine Willoughby

Katherine joined the Hampshire Constabulary in 1989 having served in Her Majesty’s Forces from the age of 18 – Serving as a Physical Training Army Instructor, retiring from the police service in November 2018.
Prior to joining the Army, Katherine was a very enthusiastic sporting youngster, winning her first schools cross-country race at the age of 11. Katherine competed at cross-country for Dorset as well as being a member of the Cycle Touring Club, Portland Dolphins Swimming club and Netball team.

During Katherine’s police career, Katherine represented Hampshire Constabulary in Athletics, CrossCountry, Road Running, Triathlon and Hockey, representing the PAA/PSUK in hockey, cross-country and triathlon. During Katherine’s police career, she concentrated on developing her ability in triathlon and as a result in 1995 gained selection to represent Great Britain (age group), competing in her first World Championship in Mexico.

In 2012, Katherine gained selection to represent PSUK at the USPE Cycling Championships, hosted by France, in the Team Time Trial event, making the scoring four to win the overall bronze team medal in this championship event. Katherine continues her passion of this sport by handing back her time as a volunteer as a British Triathlon Regional Technical Official.

Katherine took over as Team Manager for the Hampshire Athletic Section in her early service. Her team have consistently attended and been successful at Regional and National Championships in all Athletic Section disciplines. Over a ten year period (1990 – 2000) as team manager and competitor, Katherine was a member of the Hampshire Ladies cross-country team who successfully won the The Lock Trophy Cup for the first ladies team during this period.

During Katherine’s service, under her leadership Hampshire Constabulary has hosted several PSUK Championship events, the last being the 2017 PSUK 10 Mile Road Race Championships at Lee-on Solent prior to Katherine’s pending retirement in 2018. Whilst team managing the Hampshire Constabulary Athletic section, Katherine was invited to join the PSUK National Athletic Section taking up the role of Road Running representative, this includes organising the annual PSUK Marathon Championships. Katherine continues in this role to the present day.

Due to Katherine’s commitment to police sport she was invited on to the PSUK Management committee and in 2012 was elected to the USPE Technical Commission, where she remains today and will do so until her election period ceases in 2022.

The PSUK Athletic Section would like nominate Katherine for PSUK Award of Excellence for her support and commitment to athletics throughout her police career and into her retirement

Matt Ratana

Matt Ratana, Deceased Sergeant Metropolitan Police. His partner was unable to travel and join us this evening.

Many people have heard of Sgt. Matt Ratana who was sadly killed on duty at Croydon Police Station on 25th September 2020. What most of you won’t know is that Matt, a New Zealand born Metropolitan Police Officer was also a fantastic sports person. He typified all that is good in police sport, representing the Met in rugby union and league and the Met and UK police at tennis.

Dame Cressida Dick, Commissioner Metropolitan Police said ‘Matt was the ultimate team player. His team, the public order team, the Met team. All the other sports teams. He loved them. Policing is all about teams and Matt knew that. He won the PSUK Tennis Men’s doubles championship in 2000 at Tunbridge Wells with Ian Quinton.

The below is from Ian Quinton, Vice Chair Tennis

“My favourite anecdote was when Matt and I played Coult & Moore in the semis of the 2000 Nationals at Tunbridge Wells. It was one set all, four games all and 30 all, with me serving. When I missed my first serve, and just as I was about to hit my second serve, Matt sauntered back for a quick chat. We didn’t usually discuss tactics, but knowing the pressure I was under I thought he was going to suggest some cunning wheeze to help me win such a crucial point. I cupped my hand to my ear so I could hear his whisper clearly and waited for his peals of wisdom, instead he just said “Quinny, whatever you do, don’t double”! With a huge mischievous grin on his face he then skipped back to the net.”

Some months before he died Matt decided to create a new gym at the custody suite in Croydon. He was passionate about his team’s wellbeing. In addition to his own sporting achievements, Matt worked tirelessly for the benefit of others, not least at East Grinstead Rugby Club, Matt’s adopted second home.

The following is a quote from the Club on hearing of Matt’s death – “East Grinstead Rugby Football Club are utterly devastated to hear the tragic news that the Police Sergeant who lost his life in Croydon, was our Head Coach, Matt Ratana. Matt was an inspiring and much-loved figure at the club and there are truly no words to describe how we are feeling. We would like to take some time as a club and community to begin to comprehend what has happened. Our deepest and sincerest condolences go to Matt’s loved ones, family, friends, colleagues and to our community rugby family at this most terrible time.”

Such was the commitment to the Rugby Club that nominated Matt for the BBC Unsung Hero Award at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards in December 2020.

  • The following criteria is used to justify the award
    The impact they have had on individuals and/or their local community;
    The impact they have had on communities at a regional/national level beyond their local community
    The extent of the nominee’s contribution at the grassroots level of their sport or physical activity; and
    The personal sacrifices or commitment made.
    The extent of the nominee’s contribution to people not engaged in their sport or physical activity

Matt Ratana had all of these qualities.

The BBC duly chose Matt Ratana as the winner of their coveted Unsung Hero Award which was presented at the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Awards live on TV last December.
There can be no doubt that the example set by Matt both within the service and the community is a fitting tribute to him receiving the PSUK Award of Excellence.

Glyn Jones

Glyn joined the Birmingham City Police in February 1963, and soon joined the very active force athletic section, mainly competing at that stage in the Cross Country team before joining the West Midlands Police on amalgamation in 1974.

Glyn’s first venture into race walking was in 1971 when the Birmingham City Police entered a team in the Metropolitan Police Annual Classic Police Race Walk, Barking to Southend (approx 34 miles) with in the region of 300 competitors. Although this first experience was a very painful experience it led him, through a police colleague, to join a civilian club and this led him to take up race walking seriously and received professional coaching. Still continuing to compete for the force Cross Country team he progressed in walking competing as a regular competitor in the PSUK 10mile championship gaining on a regular basis selection for the annual PSUK v Civil Service v RAF and the Ryan Cup Competition. On two occasions Glyn was awarded the first veteran award in the Barking to Southend event and on one occasion being a member of the winning WMP Team. Glyn competed in Local, Area and National championships and been in the winning team for his civilian Coventry Godiva club at 20km and 50km, also representing his county, Warwickshire and Midland Counties.

In 1994 he was part of a bronze team (age related) at the World Masters Track & Field team at 20km in Toronto, Canada. In 2004 he won team gold (age related) at 30km at the World Masters Championships in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2008 at the European Masters T & F champs in Ljubljana, Slovenia he gained Team Gold (age related) at 20km. He has also competed in European Masters race walking championships in Holland, Belgium and Poland.

Eventually he was encouraged to take up an ‘Officials Role’ for Race Walking taking up Judging and completed the necessary examinations to become a top level 4 Race Walking Judge which he still holds. He has regularly been the Chief Race Walks Judge at many National, and British Championships and International events. In 1999 he was appointed a Chief Race Walks Judge at the World Masters Track & Field Championships in Gateshead.

The highest point of his race walking career was in 2008 to be elected National President of the Race Walking Association for a two year period. Following this he became Chairman of the National Race Walking Association a position he still holds.

Through all this Glyn still attends all the WMP Athletic events and assists in course preparation for all the local services cross country league fixtures and assists as an official at these events including the preparation of the Annual Ryan Cup Championship at present is always organised by Glyn and held at the WMP sports club in Birmingham.

The PSUK Athletic Section nominates Glyn Jones as a truly worthy recipient of the Award of Excellence.