This week Bill Carne popped into the Sport Pembrokeshire Department at Pembrokeshire County Council to meet Rominy Colville, one of the ‘Active Young People Officers’ whose role it is to encourage youngsters to start out in sport . . .

ROMINY Colville is now an ‘Active Young People Officer’ with Sport Pembrokeshire, who is based in County Hall, and she is charged with the role of encouraging youngsters to become more involved in a whole range of sports.

Her main sporting focus in her own teens was tennis, when she represented her county of Avon (now around the Bristol area) at all levels, but more of that later.

At the present moment she is heavily involved with youngsters at STP School, where she is based, and its feeder primary schools and sports clubs around Haverfordwest, working not only with the teenagers there but with parents as well. She shares her duties with Matthew Freeman, who is based at Tasker Milward and they share the work load for the two schools.

Indeed, this intrepid dup recently set up a multi-sport taster session at The Dome on a Saturday for 5 to 11 year olds where sports on offer were golf, squash, hockey, athletics, dance and football, to name but a few, with local clubs encouraged to send representatives to show what they had on offer.

Rominy and Matthew advertised the sessions in school assemblies, in the local press and on Radio Pembrokeshire – and the end result was that they had 86 young people who turned up, many of whom have since joined clubs there on the day.

“It was really good,” Rominy told us, “because there were so many participants as well as parents, some of whom we hope might not only encourage their children but could also be trained to serve a club in either a coaching or administrative role, or even just to make the tea!”

Rominy has been in her current role for a year now after moving into the area with her husband George (who hails from Bridgend), plus children Jack (6) who is already having a great time with Swansea City Football Camps, and Lily (4).

Her first role was established by Russell Jones at Sport Pembrokeshire, working as a peripatetic PE teacher at Coastlands School and taking all the games and PE lessons for the children there.

“It was a lovely school to be involved in,” said Rominy, “with the children, staff and parents all being very co-operative.

It is a similar story in her current role and one of her recent successes was a football taster session in Haverfordwest for girls between 5 and 11 years old where she joined Debbie Wise and Sarah Owens and really enjoyed it.

“We have also started football for 12-17 year old girls on a Saturday morning to try and raise their participation levels in the oval ball game.

“It has gone well so far and we hope that more girls will join as they get to know it’s on.”

It seems a long way from her own early years, where she started attending tennis summer camps as a six year old and quickly showed her ability.

“We had a nice gentleman that we only knew as Mr Bendell and it was only later that we learned that at one time he was top player Jo Durie’s coach.

“There was a Coco Cola Coaching Scheme we took part in and I progressed from Level One through to Level Six – and I was delighted with my certificate”

From 11 Rominy had more individual tuition and her play really took off as she took part in loads of tournaments, thanks to her parents and grandfather being good chauffeurs.

There was almost a tournament a week during the summer months and soon she was a regular in the County of Avon squads for her age groups and a member of the senior squad by the time that she was 17, which meant travelling as far afield as Sterling, in Scotland.

Rominy had a real treat as a youngster because she was chosen as a ball girl for the ‘Bristol Challenger’ tournament that included players of the calibre of Tim Henman, Andrew Castle and Miles Mclagan.

“It was quite hard work,” admitted Rominy, “because we had to really concentrate in front of such a large crowd, but great fun because we were able to watch the top British players of the time.”

When she took her Sports Science degree at Loughborough University, Rominy was captain of the college’s second team but also played for the first team against all the other top colleges.

“I thought it was quite a high standard,” Rominy told us, “but I discovered a new level after I had qualified because I went out for three months to the USA to coach at the Peter Burwash International Tennis Camps in North Carolina.

“Most days I was coaching for hours and also getting the chance to play against some of the full-time professionals who had coaching contracts there.”

Back in the is country, Rominy’s first post was teaching PE at the Sir Thomas Hardy School in Dorchester, where her inspirational first head of department just happened to be Welsh!

Then she went to Japan for a year, with a job Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and witnessed at first hand the very impressive extra-curricular facilities they had for a whole range of sporting activities.

And that brings us full circle to today, where Rominy loves living in Pembrokeshire with her family. She is able to indulge her liking of the Great Outdoors with some hill walking, whilst still finding time for a little skiing abroad.

“My work is really enjoyable and my with colleagues Dan Bellis, Amanda John, Elgan Vittle, Barry John, Wyndham Williams, Andy Barlow, Kelly Clapperton and Owain Hopwood, spread around secondary schools in the county we have a good rapport – and our Young Ambassadors give great support, too

“Then there’s ‘Sport Pembrokeshire’ itself, where the likes of Alan Jones, Russell Jones, Angela Miles, and especially manager Ben Field are brilliant.

“Ben is a proactive manager who encourages commitment and gives total support in all we do and there is no doubt that the department is thriving under his care.

It seems the respect is mutual because Mr Field told us:

“We are delighted to have Rominy in our team because of her commitment and willingness to get involved, like she did with recent taster sessions and football camps.

“She is massively pro-active and has an infectious enthusiasm that is bound to benefit young people.

High praise indeed from someone who really knows his sporting onions!

We could pay Rominy Colville no higher compliment and we wish her continued success – and a long involvement, in her yeoman work with Sport Pembrokeshire!