TWO outstanding Dorset coaches have been shortlisted for awards at the UK Coaching Awards on Tuesday, December 6 at the Queens Hotel, Leeds.

In recognition of their work supporting the lives of young people in their local communities, Bob Mowlem and Steph Buchanan have been named as finalists.

Their nominations come ahead of the 25th annual awards, a momentous event where coaches nationwide are recognised for their incredible contribution in transforming the lives and communities across their sport.

Mowlem, from Dorchester, has been shortlisted in the Community Coach of the Year (Children & Young People) category for his 60 years of voluntary football coaching.

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He has a wealth of experience across an impressive array of voluntary positions – from youth leader to football administrator to team manager, league chairman and league child welfare officer.

His reasons for continuing to coach all these years later are the same as when he first started.

“For me it’s about keeping kids off the streets and into sport and developing their characters, no matter their ability. Not to mention seeing them have fun and making friends,” he said.

“I feel very humble, and very honoured to be present with so many different sports coaches. Words cannot express how I feel. I feel too old to be nominated for any award!”

Also being recognised for enriching the lives of youngsters is Bovington’s Steph Buchanan, who is up for the Change a Life Award, for her work supporting young people who struggle in mainstream education, through horse riding.

After the sudden loss of her nephew through suicide, she set up the British Horse Society Changing Lives Programme to support others going through similar situations and now runs this as well as coaching a local school.

On hearing she had been shortlisted, Buchanan said: “To be nominated for this award is a real honour, being selected as a finalist feels surreal, especially as coaching is what I love to do most. I am feeling immensely proud and grateful.

“In the last three years I’ve been heavily involved in the ‘Changing Lives Through Horses’ programme with the British Horse Society.

“This involves close tuition and mentoring of young people, sometimes with complex emotional needs, it requires you to build confidence and resilience prior to the real work beginning.

“Sometimes by the time the young person has arrived with us they have given up on many aspects of their lives. Watching the transformation is just incredible!”

The awards are a showpiece event, seen as one of the most prestigious within the coaching community.

Twenty-five years ago, the awards were created to recognise the remarkable contributions coaches make – from delivering high quality and technical coaching, to supporting participants both physically and mentally.

UK Coaching’s CEO Mark Gannon congratulated both Bob and Steph on their nominations, and reflected on the huge variety of coaching talent announced.

He said: “We are delighted to announce our finalists for the 25th UK Coaching Awards.

“From over 350 nominations – a staggering amount – this year the bar has been raised once again, and whilst we are fully aware of the power of coaching, our brilliant coaching workforce continues to surprise us and change lives and communities.

“It is so important that we acknowledge and thank our coaches as they work tirelessly to support more people into physical activity and sport across all levels – to help build communities, tackle inequalities and inspire people to be the best they can be, whatever their aspirations.”

Find out more about this year’s finalists and the awards by heading to