Young Volunteer celebrated by the Federation of Irish Sport

Rachel McBride, a volunteer and coach at Omagh RDA in Northern Ireland has been chosen as a recipient of the 2023 Volunteer in Sports Award.  Rachel received a nomination due to her drive, passion, and energy in supporting the riders at Omagh RDA and encouraging participation both at home and at Regional and National Championships. The award celebrates her unwavering dedication to enriching the lives of all participants and giving freely of her time to make sporting activities happen within the Omagh community. 

Rachel started volunteering at Omagh RDA in her early teens, firstly helping with horsecare, stable management and assisting with the riding sessions. Through the pathway of volunteering within RDA, Rachel developed skills in safeguarding, first aid, disability awareness and progressed to the coaching pathway which she completed earlier this year.  

She is the secretary of the RDA committee and works in other roles also as publicity officer and volunteer coordinator for the group. She commented:  

Rachel, Omagh RDA Volunteer and Coach

“Being a coach provides the chance to unlock potential in everyone I work with, developing their confidence and enabling them to gain experiences similar to those which I myself had through my own personal sporting endeavours. Receiving this award not only recognises my work, but the work of all volunteers in sport nationally, and in our local community.


I’m proud to be part of a great team who work closely together to help others strive to achieve their personal bests both in equestrian, and in other aspects of their lives. Volunteering at Omagh RDA is both rewarding and fulfilling and truly one of the best experiences I have encountered”. 

The Federation of Irish Sport selected 32 County volunteers, and their success was celebrated at an awards ceremony held in Dublin in April 2024 with special guest speaker Minister Thomas Byrne, Minister of State with responsibility for Sport and Physical Education presenting the 32 county awards. The ceremony celebrated the depth and breadth of volunteering in sporting communities throughout Ireland. With a record-breaking number of entries, the 2023 Volunteers in Sports Awards have seen nominations from over 50 different sporting disciplines, highlighting the widespread impact of volunteering ranging from mass participation sports to new and emerging sports. The 32 county awards presented, honoured outstanding volunteers from every corner of the country, who had demonstrated commitment and dedication. 

The vital role Rachel plays, and that of all volunteers in sports, participation and community development cannot be underestimated or taken for granted. Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister Thomas Byrne noted “Volunteers are the backbone of Irish sport, and I am delighted to see their valuable contribution recognised and celebrated by these awards. The success of Irish sport would not be possible without the many thousands of volunteers that willingly dedicate their time each week, in every part of Ireland, to help others enjoy their sport and I want to thank every volunteer for their valuable contribution.” 

Rachel was joined at the celebrations by her dad, Shaun McBride and Omagh RDA trustees Gwen Garrett and Leona Carson. Leona states “Rachel embodies what volunteering is all about and is a worthy recipient of this prestigious award. She is a role model to all our young volunteers and continues to support, encourage, and motivate our participants enabling them to achieve success and have a wonderful experience. Her devotion to achieving the best for the riders through competition has resulted in many receiving awards in both regional and national championships.” 

Brooke McCrossan began riding in Omagh RDA in 2022. Rachel has worked closely with Brooke and helped her achieve success competitively at local, regional and National level. Brooke commented “Rachel inspires and helps me to do my best at every opportunity, she makes time for everyone and always does this with a friendly smile. I always look forward to my sessions with Rachel. I find all the volunteers at RDA  very welcoming; I have fun and have made friends.” 

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation and without them there would be no riding classes, horsecare, arenas prepared, teas made or trips organised.  

A huge congratulations to Rachel from all in Omagh RDA and a giant thank you for your support and friendship from all our riders.  


To find out more about Omagh RDA 

Email or via their Facebook page if you would like to join their volunteering team.