Fifteen young sports people have each benefitted from a special bursary from the Mary Peters Trust’s newest funding programme, the ‘David Magill Coaching Awards’.
Set up by the Trust and the family of David Magill, who passed away in November 2021 aged 86, the coaching initiative aims to help young athletes take up coaching courses relevant to their chosen sport.
During his lifetime David had made a huge contribution and impact within the worlds of sport, business, local community, and volunteering. David was an all-round sports person, excelling in pole-vaulting and winning the Irish Youth Championship in 1954.
His widow Joan, daughters Joanne and Denise and the wider family wanted to establish the David Magill Coaching Awards programme as a tribute to a much-loved husband, dad and grandfather.
Joan Magill, David’s widow explains how the idea came about:
“As a young athlete in the 1950’s David had little access to full-time coaches and proper facilities and had to think up unusual and creative ways to improve and develop. He did a lot of research, read books, discussed ideas with other sports people and even resorted to sending photos by post of himself in action to champion athletes seeking their feedback and advice on grip, technique, and training regimes.
“David was an admirer of Mary Peters who like him had to fight hard to access training and development opportunities and he would be thrilled that a coaching programme in his name will make a difference to current and future athletes throughout Northern Ireland.
“Back in 1954 a local sports journalist described David as ‘a young man with a big ambition’ and our family feels The David Magill Coaching Awards are playing a part in helping young sports people to realise their own big ambitions, win medals and potentially reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport.”
Joan Magill and her daughter Joanne joined Lady Mary Peters at a special presentation event at Newforge Sports Complex in Belfast to welcome and celebrate the David Magill Coaching Award winners.
Mary Peters Trust Chair, Barry Funston paid tribute to Joan, Joanne and Denise saying:
“At the Mary Peters Trust we are constantly seeking new approaches and different initiatives to help local athletes strive to compete with the best in the world. David and Joan Magill have been superb supporters of the Trust and its ongoing work over the years. We are very much indebted to the Magill family and wholeheartedly thank them for their financial endowment and their work in establishing these new coaching awards.
“It has been wonderful to meet our cohort of 15 athletes drawn from disability sport, badminton, athletics, gymnastics and netball and we wish them all well as they embark on their various coaching courses. We look forward to hearing how their new qualifications help them develop in their specific sports and how as new coaches they can support athletes of the future to fast-track towards success.”