COUNTY athletics stalwart Henry Muchamore has been named as the top athletics volunteer in the UK.

Muchamore, 73, was full of pride as he collected the UKA (United Kingdom Athletics) Volunteer of the Year award at the Aviva UKA Awards evening in Westminster on Saturday.

This recognition for the HELP (Haddington East Lothian Pacemakers) stalwart follows hot on the heels of him winning a similar award - Scottish Athletic Volunteer Coach of the Year - at Scottish Athletics' annual award dinner at the end of October.

Muchamore's achievements includes co-ordinating the Awards for All Athletics project in East Lothian, and helping provide an introduction to athletics to all county primary and secondary schools, as well as summer schools, with 1,400 children involved in the programme.

His nomination came after he helped create five new run, jump and throw clubs in the county, giving more than 100 youngsters their chance in athletics.

Muchamore, a HELP committee member who is also involved in the East Lothian Athletics Development Group, has also been campaigning for more than 20 years for an athletics track facility at Meadowmill, by Prestonpans, and is delighted to see the project nearing completion.

Set to open early next year, it will be the first of its kind in East Lothian and will give athletes of all ages the chance to train in the county rather than having to travel to Edinburgh. It will also help provide a focal point for the work of Muchamore and fellow volunteers.

Reflecting on the award, a delighted Muchamore said: "Winning was a great surprise given the rest of the competition from around the UK and I was absolutely delighted. I have family down south so I was able to stay on and continue the celebrations.

"I've been involved in athletics in East Lothian at club level for almost 30 years since the formation of Haddington East Lothian Pacemakers in 1982-83. The other two clubs in the area are Dunbar Running Club and Musselburgh and District Athletic Club.

"The great thing is now we have waiting lists for all three clubs and I'm trying now to get run, jump and throw clubs set up in places like Tranent and North Berwick. It is very important to give kids that opportunity.

"In the past, athletes who showed potential in East Lothian had to travel to Edinburgh for facilities but hopefully that will change when the new track and field complex opens.

"Fortunately, we are also growing the coaching pool, through young people and parents who I am hoping will be around for the long term." At the awards ceremony, Muchamore was in illustrious company.

Among the others picking up awards on the night were some of Britain's top athletes and foremost medal hopes for next year's Olympics in London, including hurdler Dai Greene and long-distance runner Mo Farah, both nominees for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year.