A FERMANAGH sports coach and volunteer says he is "surprised" and "humbled" to have been recognised with a Northern Ireland-wide award for his work within disability sport.

Joe Graham, from Irvinestown, was recently presented with the Disability Sport NI ‘Club Person of the Year’ award for the sport of boccia by Disability Sport NI’s Honorary President, Angela Hendra MBE, at the charity’s recent AGM.

The Disability Sport NI ‘Club Person of the Year’ award recognises the person who has volunteered their time and worked tirelessly to ensure that their club is safe and sustainable, providing people with physical disabilities the opportunity to participate in boccia.

On receiving the award, Joe said: "I feel very surprised and humbled to receive this. This award is not down to one person, it is a team accolade.

"The Fermanagh Lakers Boccia Club are the ones that inspire me and others, and it is my privilege to coach and assist them.

"I am missing training and game time since Covid arrived, but the club can’t wait to get back again.

"I thank the club for their nomination; it is my pleasure to receive such an award.”

Joe has been the driving force behind the development of the Fermanagh Lakers Boccia Club since it was formed in 2015. He coaches weekly at the club and oversees the fortnightly development squad sessions to support players competing in the Disability Sport NI Individual and Pairs Leagues.

A spokesperson for Disability Sport NI said: "Joe uses every opportunity to promote boccia in the Fermanagh area and can often be found showcasing the sport in his local school in the hope of attracting new players."

He has also been working behind the scenes to put the club through Clubmark and, if successful, it will be the first boccia club in Northern Ireland to achieve the award.