Honour for Hethersett speedway star

A Hethersett man has received a national honour to mark more than four decades of dedicated service to the sport of cycle speedway.

A Hethersett man has received a national honour to mark more than four decades of dedicated service to the sport of cycle speedway.

Mel Perkins received the 2008 Eastern Region Volunteers award at the British Cycling presentation evening at the De Vere Hotel in the Reebok Stadium - home of Bolton Wanderers Football Club.

Mel's award was 'in recognition of outstanding work as a club official'.

The national ceremony recognises the champions alongside the unsung heroes that contribute to the various sports encompassed under the cycling banner. The awards were presented by double 2008 Paralympic gold medal winning rider Sarah Storey OBE, Sally Moore from sponsors Leigh Day and Co Solicitors and Halfords product manager Andy Smallwood.

Mel has been involved in Hethersett cycle speedway for 44 years.

'I was asked to race for a friend's team and the following year I started my own club in Hethersett at the age of 16,' he said.

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At the same time as founding Hethersett Hawks, Mel also became minutes' secretary of the local league.

Today he is secretary and manager of Hethersett Hawks, organising weekly club nights, matches, team selection, transport, a weekly newsletter as well as keeping club records and preparing the track on the Memorial Playing Field.

He is also co-ordinator of the Norfolk Cycle Speedway Association where he deals with fixtures, results and county teams; chairman, treasurer and fixtures co-ordinator for the South-East League; and manager of the British Youth and Junior League where he co-ordinates fixtures, results and issues circulars and co-ordinates events.

'I believe my greatest achievement has been in keeping a village club going for 44 years and developing local riders to achieve four British team championships and three individual British champions. My motivation has been to keep youngsters off the streets and get them involved in a great team sport which provides them with the security of club life and an opportunity to achieve at the highest level. It has been very rewarding to see riders develop from raw novices to become some of the top riders in the country and also to see new riders taking up the sport,' he said.

Mel is also the founder and secretary of Hethersett Athletic Football Club.

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