A GOLD medal winning decathlete dropped into a community sports club to lend a hand as part of a national campaign.

Former Commonwealth Games winner Dean Macey passed on the Join In Summer Relay baton when he called into the Norton Sports Charity at the weekend.

His visit was part of a nationwide tour of community sports clubs where Commonwealth stars and top athletes will be having a go at the everyday volunteer roles that make sport possible in the UK.

While at the Norton centre he took on a variety of volunteer jobs including umpiring, ground keeping and caddying across tennis, bowls, snooker, archery, rugby, football, cricket, hockey, squash and golf.

He said: “I can’t believe such a large facility is run on a charity basis with so many volunteers. Volunteering isn’t easy, you’ve got to give up your time and dedicate yourself to other people, but what I have learnt from being here today is how much you get back from it too. It takes a very special person to dedicate so much time for other people, but the rewards are great- seeing people enjoying their sports.

“Volunteering played a huge part in my career, we get our top class athletes from grass roots sports, the more volunteers, the more grass roots are going to come through and the greater our prospects for producing great athletes in the future.”

Charity president Peter Frost said: “Norton Sports Charity together with the various clubs we host is able to provide ten sports benefitting many thousands of people in the North-East thanks to the tireless work of over 200 volunteers. They are the heartbeat of the local community and we are very proud that Join In chose to come here and give recognition to them.”

For more information and to find local clubs that need help visit joininuk.org