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Oliver Murphy and Ryan Allen showed such dedication and contributed so much to the community that they were among three students awarded the Hilary Tucker Prize, usually reserved for one recipient, at the University’s annual Valedictory prize-giving service in recognition for making a significant difference at the Warrington Campus.

Qualified coach Oliver Murphy has worked tirelessly to inspire others into sport throughout his undergraduate and postgraduate studies. The 22-year-old from Bebbington is currently studying for an MA in Sports Coaching and Development after joining the University with limited initial qualifications on a Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching.

Alongside his studies, Oliver works as a Disability Sports Coach for the Warrington Wolves Foundation, where he delivers an inclusive sports coaching programme. Through this role, he mentors other sports coaching students to help them get the most from their work experience placements with the Foundation, ensuring that they have a positive and meaningful experience to enhance their employability.

Passionate about football, Oliver is not only a committed supporter of Women’s football, coaching the University Women's Football team, he has also been a long serving member of the Men’s Football team and a previous Captain of the Second and Third XI. 

He said: “I am very grateful to be recognised by the University of Chester and awarded the Hilary Tucker Prize. Since initially starting at the University on the Foundation Degree, I have received amazing support from all of the tutors of the Department of Sport and Community Engagement and Warrington School of Management. The opportunities provided by the tutors from foundation to Master’s level has developed me into a knowledgeable, confident and forward thinking coach. Their hard work, dedication and encouragement has helped me to gain a variety of coaching roles within the industry at University, Tranmere Rovers Football Club and Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation.”  

His football coaching talents recently saw him working for Tranmere Rovers FC in China, where he promoted the University with a number of other former students.

Dave Horrocks, Head of Department, Chester Business School at Warrington, said: “Oliver has clearly demonstrated how a mature, positive and conscientious attitude can enable a successful academic outcome and open the door to a range of interesting adventures coaching sport to a diverse array of participants.”

Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching student Ryan Allen is not only inspiring others, but has also turned his own path around through his coaching.

Ryan has reversed an unsuccessful experience at his first Higher Education institution to flourish here at the University of Chester, where he is impressing tutors with his determination to succeed.

Ryan, from Woolston, will be growing the profile of handball and engaging schoolchildren in the sport, thanks to his selection for an internship with the England Handball Association. 

Now in his second year, he is involved in the community coaching programme of the Warrington Wolves Foundation, as well as giving his time freely to coach rugby to children with a local community club, Woolston Rovers, and is determined to help them enjoy and improve in their rugby league skills.

Ryan said: “I am currently working with Warrington Wolves Community Foundation, coaching children in schools twice a week, and I am also coaching handball with England Handball.
“I hope to have a career in sports coaching in the future, hopefully in rugby league, and the University and the lectures in Sport Department, have given me the best possible chance of doing this. I cannot wait to go back next year for my final year, when I am doing a top-up to get my BSc degree in Sports Coaching.”

Dave Horrocks added: “Ryan epitomises the transformative experience gained from studying here at the University’s Warrington Campus. The support and encouragement from his tutors have enabled him to view his second attempt in higher education in a positive light. Not only has he developed his own sporting knowledge and skills but he is now also using it within a community context to help others.”

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