Mr Simon Aldridge, VT Flagship employee within the Communications Training Unit, and Petty Officer (Kai) Blackett of the Royal Navy Leadership Academy have been awarded ‘Value the Volunteer' awards by the RNRU. 

The valuing the volunteer scheme is a RFU initiative that the Royal Navy Rugby Union recognises and support. It acknowledges those people without whom rugby would not be the successful team sport that it is. They are often the volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure what needs to be done is done. The RNRU is a supporter of the scheme and readily acknowledges that

Rugby, throughout the Navy, is only successful where there are sailors and marines who are prepared to do that little bit extra. Therefore, a Value the Volunteer Award is the RNRU's way of saying two small words to recognise all those that do great things for Navy Rugby - thank you.

Simon has been the mainstay of Combined Services Rugby Referees in Hampshire & Berkshire throughout the 2010 /11 season. Although nominated as the Assistant Service Area Secretary he has to all really been responsible for all referee appointments in the area. The area he deals with is without doubt the busiest area in the country that covers not only Portsmouth but Aldershot, RAF Odiham, Bordon, Marchwood, Thorney Island and Sandhurst.

As an ex-player and referee he has a deep love of the game which he always has at his heart and he continues to strive to improve his performance. Always approachable he is willing to discuss issues of law with both players and fellow referees. He has on a number of occasions officiated in two matches on a single day to ensure that matches are covered and senior matches get a team of three. Last year he also qualified as an advisor and has been at the forefront of developing new referees in the area after the ELRA Course. In addition to his duties as a referee appointer he has taken on the role of Secretary of the Eastern Region League which encompasses teams from all 3 services. In this role he has had to manage an ever changing fixture list due to not only varied availability of teams but a severe winter. In doing so, ensuring that both League and cup competitions were both successfully completed.

Petty Officer (Kai) Blackett has been involved with Navy Rugby at all levels for a number of years, but his contribution to the Union during the 2010/11 season has been especially worthy. As Head Coach to HMS Collingwood Rugby Team, he played a pivotal role in ensuring a well prepared team that were not only recruited but coached to a safe and high standard, this was evident throughout the season as they achieved positive results in the Eastern Region Area League and progressed through to the Semi Finals of the Navy Cup competition.

During the 2010/11 season, PO Blackett took on the role of Head Coach of Portsmouth Command Rugby Union. He brought together an experienced Team Support Group and successfully coached the squad through to the Inter Command Competition Semi-final. This job was not without its tribulations, as throughout the tournament operational commitments and career courses hampered the continuity of players, but his professional and versatile coaching style ensured that this was not at the detriment of the squad.

In addition to coaching, PO Blackett has represented the Royal Navy Rugby Union (Vets) throughout the season. He also manages to find the time and energy to pull on the United Services Portsmouth shirt at weekends. A dedicated family man, Kai's wife and children are his number one supporters and are always found on the touchline wherever he is playing or coaching.

As part of his personal development Kai was invited by the RFU to attend his Coach Developers course as part of the RFU Coach Education. With him having attended this course it has now opened up new opportunities to deliver non award courses as part of the RNRU coach development pathway.