British Empire Medal for White Notley rugby stalwart

016 NB Corinn Winwood,, awarded BEM for services to youth rugby at Braintree Rugby Club, at her ho

016 NB Corinn Winwood,, awarded BEM for services to youth rugby at Braintree Rugby Club, at her home in White Notley, Essex on Friday. - Credit: Archant

A White Notley woman has been awarded a British Empire Medal after 26 years of continuous service to Braintree Rugby Club.

Corinne Winwood, 66, describes herself as “a good organiser” and has held various roles at the club including as child welfare and schools liaison officers and secretary.

She founded the now thriving youth section, which boasts 350 players ranging from U4s-U18s, after starting with 67 players.

The mother-of-two has also been instrumental in setting up a youth academy for U17 and U18 players, and was the driving force behind the club’s bid to become the first in Essex to be awarded the RFU’s Whole Club Seal of Approval in 2010, along with husband Barrie.

Corinne, who currently chairs the club’s youth and mini section, said: “It’s a huge honour and I just can’t get my head around it

“I was very emotional when I opened it and got the news, because you don’t do things like this for reward. If you did, you’d be disappointed.”

Corinne has always been a rugby fan after watching her husband play when they first met, a friend’s son re-ignited their interest.

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They were due to go for lunch with friends, who said they could not come as their son was playing, so they went along to watch.

“When we went our two boys, Josh and Oliver, were bowled over by it,” she added.

“I always tell people I don’t play rugby, I just make sure it can be played.”

Corinne, who has two grandchildren, says she had to adjust being a female in a male-dominated environment.

“It was hard sometimes, especially in the early years, I just kept my head down and worked hard. But we have a really lovely club and it’s great to have been involved all this time.”