The work and passion that Margaret Bedford voluntarily puts into the junior section at Strawberry Hill Golf Club can never be truly quantified. For nine years now, she has organised and inspired golf for many children at Strawberry Hill.

Margaret won the ‘England’s Golf volunteer of the Year award’ in 2014, and nearly five years on, she continues her voluntary work for the junior section. She first became Junior Organiser in 2009, but before that was the Ladies Captain and a longstanding committee member. She explained to me that after retiring from working overseas, she needed a golf club to join. “So I played in the rain on a Friday afternoon and I liked the course even in the rain! When I came into the club house, it was a bit like an overseas club. It was friendly, and everybody made me feel so welcome.”

Margaret herself only began to play golf in her forties, but “encouraging young people to be active, has always been a passion” of hers. She went on to say that “I love to see them on the golf course. Because the junior organiser at the time left, I couldn't bear to see the juniors without anything to do. At that stage there were 15 juniors and they were all boys. Now we’ve got 43 juniors and 8 of them girls, and about 20 girls coming for coaching.” The growth of the junior section during Margaret’s tenure just shows the magnitude of the success that she has been.

She has brought golf to life for many young children interested in the sport, said “I just love it when the juniors come and play golf, and enjoy themselves. I try to encourage them to learn some skills along the way, how to be polite, how to behave well on the golf course, how to look after the golf course. I try to teach them to respect the adults on the golf course, and if I see them doing that, and I see them enjoying themselves, it gives me enormous pleasure.”

Golf is often stereotyped as a game for the retired, or at least adults only, and this is a perception that Margaret is helping to change. She explains how it “should be for all ages, but it is a very time consuming game, so a lot of young people between the ages of 20 and 40, especially if they’ve got young families, find it very difficult.”

Strawberry Hill is unique in the sense that there are few other golf clubs in the country to match it. In 2014, Strawberry Hill was runner-up in the GolfMark Club of the Year award, partly due to its junior section. Strawberry Hill is affiliated to Middlesex Golf, who are really struggling to get all the golf clubs to have junior sections. “There are only 8 clubs in Middlesex which actually have a junior team to play in competitions. I think Strawberry Hill is gaining a fantastic reputation as being a club for juniors and families.”

Margaret explained that there aren’t enough people, like herself, in the area, who are encouraging golf, which is holding back the next generation of golfers. She has been searching for another volunteer to help her for years. She says that it “hasn't been easy. I've got people helping on an occasional basis but not on a regular basis.” So if anyone is willing to volunteer… you know what to do.