Paddy Patterson Award winner: Ken Nixon
Ken Nixon is the recipient of the latest Paddy Patterson award which recognises individuals who have brought honour to the province and served Ulster sport with great distinction over a period of years.
This award is made by the Northern Ireland Sports Forum and as a recent chairman of that organisation, Ken has been used to presenting this particular prize. Now he has received it himself in acknowledgement of his excellent service to sport in Northern Ireland.
Ken’s first formal volunteering role in sport was as an officer of QUB Badminton Club and there followed over 40 years of dedicated voluntary commitment that spans a range of sports and levels from grass roots to national governing bodies.
He kept his commitment to badminton and has served as the Ulster Branch president and chairman. He currently holds the office of chairman.
His strong leadership of the sport led to badminton producing a unique double, hosting a pre-Olympic training camp and a major International Olympic qualifying tournament in 2011.
At Badminton Ireland he has been a long-term provincial representative and is a current board member and a former secretary of Badminton Ireland. He is also a trustee of the National Badminton Centre.
It is not only in the sport of badminton that Ken has made an impact through his volunteering efforts; he is a Trustee of the Mary Peters Trust and has recently been appointed to the Board of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council.
As chairman of Holywood Cricket Club he has taken his wealth of experience in the sports sector into the overall challenge of promoting the crucial role of Governing Bodies, their clubs and their vital volunteer base in the delivery of the Sport and Physical Activity Agenda in the province.
Ken stepped down as chairman of the Northern Ireland Sports Forum (the representative body for Governing Bodies of Sport) last year after 10 years at the helm.
During this time he took on a variety of roles, representing the voluntary sector of sport on the Confederation of British Sport group, serving as its vice chairman and chairman over a four-year period, working with representatives from sister bodies in England, Scotland and Wales.
The partnership has now extended to government departments and Agencies as a member of the Sport Matters, Strategy for Sport, Monitoring Group, chaired by the DCAL Minister.
As a lawyer, with a keen interest in sport and the law he has provided pro bono advice to governing bodies and clubs over a number of years.
One notable achievement in this area was as a founding director of Sports Resolutions UK, the leading charitable organisation specialising in sports mediation and arbitration.
From 1976 to 2006 he also found time to be an occasional sports writer for the Belfast Telegraph and broadcaster for BBC Radio Ulster promoting grassroots sport.
Ken is hugely respected in the administration of local sport, always available for advice, with a great depth of knowledge and wisdom. He is a worthy recipient of the Paddy Patterson Award.