Brian Firmin Groundsman at Halstead Cricket Club, Essex and Ronnie Bunting, Head Greenkeeper/Course Manager at Ballochmyle Golf Club in Mauchline have been crowned Terrain Aeration's Unsung Heroes for 2006/2007.
Brian, who was nominated by Halstead CCs Chairman Phil Toogood, was praised by the judges for decades of un-paid dedication, setting standards, which prompted Essex CCC to host a second eleven Championship, game at Halstead's Star Stile ground. Nicknamed Bubbles, for his sense of fun and a laugh, which is instantly recognised, Brian, who recently celebrated his 75th birthday, is deemed "irreplaceable" and a "priceless asset" to his club.
Ronnie, nominated by Ballochmyle's Greens Convenor James McMurdo was applauded for the way in which he has brought new ideas and methods to tackle drainage, compaction and thatch problems, restoring the course in just two years to its former glory.
Speaking on behalf of his fellow judges Gordon Child (former BIGGA Chairman) and Derek Walder (former IOG Chairman) Steve Gingell, senior agronomist and Southern Area Manager for the STRI said that Ballochmyle is Ronnie's home town, and he accepted the position with full knowledge of the problems he would inherit.
"Ronnie has proved himself exceptionally skilled, both on the parkland course here and the moor land course of Kilmacolm where he rose to Head Greenkeeper. Although he has "worked like a Trojan horse" at Ballochmyle, he has still found time to persevere with NVQ level 4 so that now he is qualified to assess his staff on their own course."
The winners received vouchers towards the holiday of their choice and cheques to the tune of £200 from the awards' sponsors Pitchcare and Greenkeeping magazine.