BEING the person that drives youngsters to "stay in the sport forever" is what motivates an award-winning Wee County athletics volunteer.

Sophie Allan, a former pupil at Lornshill Academy, was recently named as the Kubenet Volunteer of the Year at the Scottish Women in Sport Awards, which saw her rub shoulders with stars such as Olympians such as swimmer Kathleen Dawson, runner Laura Muir, and cyclist Katie Archibald.

The 21-year-old, who coaches with Active Schools in Clackmannanshire and Dunfermline Track and Field, was feted for her work as a coach and an official, which saw her volunteer around 1,000 hours in athletics last year.

Sophie, from Alloa, also officiates for both Scottish and UK Athletics; is on the committee for the Scottish Schools Athletics Association; volunteers with another Dunfermline-based club, Pitreavie AAC; and has been named on Scottish Athletics' Young People's Forum.

Speaking to the Advertiser after receiving her award, Sophie, who has volunteered in sport since she was 13, said: "It still doesn't feel real. I don't know if it will ever properly sink in.

"I was excited and mortified, but mostly excited and very grateful for it.

"It was intimidating but in the best way, if that makes sense. All these people walking in that are top-level athletes, or sport celebrities...I was just a bit like: 'Oh, my goodness'.

Sophie receives her award from Julie Inglis, Director of sponsor Kubenet. Photo courtesy of Scottish Women in Sport.

Sophie receives her award from Julie Inglis, Director of sponsor Kubenet. Photo courtesy of Scottish Women in Sport.

She continued: "The whole night, I found it really empowering and felt, we can actually do this. You can get loads more women involved in sport.

"The people that had nominated me kind of joked about it a wee while ago and I thought, 'Oh, they're just kidding', and then I got the email in from Scottish Women in Sport. It actually went into my junk folder and it just said you have been shortlisted.

"It was a quick turnaround because it was something like three weeks before the event, so it was a total shock."

Sophie estimates that she volunteered around 1,000 hours last year – which is roughly 19 hours a week.

"The biggest reason I'm there is because I enjoy it so much," she added. "Everybody makes that experience, especially the athletes.

"I like officiating at all levels – run, jump throw and all the way up – but, for me, it's those under-11s on their first ever competition and you're the person that makes their day, and you're the person that drives them to stay in that sport forever.

"That's what keeps me there."