TOWA Awards 2024
At the Tug of War Association AGM held recently, Awards of Merit were announced and presented to the recipients. Those people receiving awards were Pete Dyer, Wendy Dyer and Dave Knott. The Award of Merit is the highest honour of the Tug of War Association and is only awarded for long and distinguished service to tug of war. In addition, the TOWA presented one of its newer awards – an “outstanding achievement” award to be presented to people who had made an outstanding contribution to the sport over the previous 12 months. This was jointly awarded to Jonathan Capper and Claire Thwaites. You can read more about the nominations for these awards below.
Pete has been involved in tug of war since the 1970’s, firstly as a puller for Felton Eccles Tug of War Club from Somerset. Pete trained with the club for many years, and the club soon became one of the top teams in England and the World with Pete helping to contribute to the success of the team in their pursuit of gold medals, culminating in multiple national titles, as well as World and European open and closed titles.
Pete later became an area representative for TOWA Area number 3 on the TOWA General Committee where he has been an active member for many years, eventually serving as the Officials and Records Secretary, Vice Chairman and International Representative, and in more recent years, has served as Tug of War Association Chairman. Pete is now also a Grade 1 tug of war judge.
Pete has also been involved in the organisation of a number of TWIF championships that England has hosted, including the 2007, 2011 and 2017 European Championships, all of which were huge challenges for the TOWA to organise.
Pete has also, for many years now been a key member of the Tug of War International Federation. In Pete’s early involvement in TWIF he could regularly be seen on the field acting as assistant chief marshall and chief marshall, and has since gone on to be TWIF junior vice president, and more recently TWIF senior vice president.
Whilst Pete has largely retired from active pulling, he can often be seen on the rope at the annual Kessingland Autumn Tug of War weekend organised by TOWA Area 5.
Pete has done a huge amount of work for tug of war over the years, and the TOWA is grateful for his service.
Behind every good man is a good woman, with Wendy acting in a key role for the TOWA over a huge number of years, mainly as a recorder, officiating at many events up and down the country and taking up recording a number of years ago whilst Pete was pulling.
Wendy officiates as a recorder at many local and national events, and eventually became a recorder on the TWIF panel of officials. Wendy has acted as chief recorder at numerous national and international events and World Games and regularly delivers recording courses to help bring on the next generation of officials.
With ever changing rules and requirements, there is often more to recording than meets the eye, and it is often a thankless task, but it is a task for which we are hugely thankful to Wendy for doing and for her encouragement of other new recorders.
Wendy has also served as area secretary for TOWA Area number 3 over a huge number of years and is otherwise a huge supporter of the TOWA.
Along with Pete, Wendy has done a huge amount of work for tug of war over the years, and the TOWA is very grateful for her service.
Dave first became involved in tug of war as a junior, after being introduced to the sport by the late Graham Prime and joined the Bagnall Farmers team from Staffordshire during the 1970’s.
After a short break from the sport in the early 80’s Dave joined Kilroe, competing at both indoor and outdoor for several years where he became part of a successful squad of pullers that won several national and international medals.
In the mid 1990’s, when Kilroe moved away from outdoor competitions Dave joined Bosley, so he could continue competing on the outdoor circuit, but carried on competing with Kilroe indoor. During these times, Dave enjoyed taking part in National and International events, competing with both his own clubs and other clubs in open competitions, winning World/European open club and closed medals indoor and outdoor.
Whilst not always being part of the first choice team, Dave is above all else, a “club man”, always helping out behind the scenes doing the jobs no one else wanted to do! Dave still to this day rarely misses training and competitions. Dave has unselfishly given up many hours of his own time for the good of others, doing anything that needed to be done.
After retiring from active pulling and training, Dave has been coaching Bosley and has helped a mixture of young novices and experienced pullers to AAA and National success.
Bosley is one of the founder member clubs of the TOWA with a rich history, but in recent years Bosley, along with many other clubs, has struggled with membership and finding new blood to carry the sport forward. At times it would have been far easier to walk away than carry on but his unwavering dedication to the club and the sport has helped Bosley survive.
In 2011, Dave was asked by the TOWA to be the England under 23 team manager. Despite perceptions, this role has not always been an easy undertaking. This endeavour has been rewarded with the under 23’s winning an open club bronze at the 2011 TWIF Championships in Minehead, and more recently, Dave led the under 23 mixed team to an open silver and a closed bronze at the 2023 World Championships in Switzerland.
In addition to pulling and coaching, Dave has been an active individual member of the TOWA for a number of years, regularly participating in TOWA Midland Area 2 meetings, and serving as an Area 2 representative on the TOWA general committee.
The TOWA Award of Merit is awarded for long and distinguished service to tug of war. The full membership of Bosley Tug of War Club, who made the nomination for this award, believe that the commitment and dedication shown as a puller, coach, volunteer and committee member over a period of around 50 years is more than deserving of this award.
Jonathan Capper and Claire Thwaites
Jonathan and Claire are relatively new to tug of war and in the last few seasons have got involved in helping out behind the scenes with junior tug of war.
Organising and co-ordinating junior teams and associated logistics in the modern age can be a daunting task with safeguarding requirements and transport being key factors along with fundraising.
This year, Jonathan and Claire have undertaken a huge amount of admin work and preparation to organise the junior tour of South Africa, the trip to the GENSB competition in Germany, and latterly the World Championships in Sursee, Switzerland.
All of these trips for our juniors were very well organised, and without the input of Jonathan and Claire, these trips for our junior pullers would have been very difficult to manage and would have placed extra burden on the various team coaches and managers who had a huge amount of work to do already.
This year, Jonathan and Claire have kindly stepped forward to help England organise the GENSB tournament in Keele, and we look forward to working with them to help deliver a successful junior tournament.
We would like to thank Jonathan and Claire for all of their work, which has made a significant and valuable contribution to junior tug of war, giving a significant number of young people a positive and unforgettable experience of tug of war.