A MAN who has dedicated more than 30 years of his life to being a coach has won a Pride of Gwent award.

Gerald Sims from Cwmbran has been named winner of this year’s Volunteer Award for the hard work he does coaching young swimmers.

When he was told that he had won he said: “I am really surprised, but was over the moon and quite emotional.

“It is a great honour for myself, my wife, my four daughters and Cwmbran Otters Swimming Club, who have supported my over the 32 years.”

The 64-year-old is the volunteer head coach at the Cwmbran Otters Swimming Club and coaches five days a week and also gives up his time for competitions at weekends.

He added: “I’m proud and flabbergasted, it’s a good thing that voluntary work is being recognised.

“I have always enjoyed volunteering. I really enjoy being with the children and seeing them progress.”

He was chosen as the winner of the award at a special judging day that was held at the South Wales Argus offices.

There are 15 awards that aim to reward and celebrate the efforts of the unsung heroes of our communities.

Mr Sims received a number of nominations from many of the people he has coached in his 32 years with the club.

He says he has always been a keen swimmer, and joined the Otters in 1986. He has since helped generations of young people become accomplished swimmers.

He said: “I have parents who were in my first squad and their children are now in the club. It’s not just work at pool side, it is also involves a lot of paperwork.”

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December 2007 and had surgery and radiotherapy treatment, before getting the all clear.

He said: “I knew nothing about prostate cancer and I learnt a lot since then and you would be surprised how many men ask me about it and the symptoms.

“It was a very difficult time, but luckily confined to prostate and hadn’t spread to my bones.”

He added: “The swimming has kept me going and keeps me active.”

The winners of all of the Pride of Gwent Awards will be featured in upcoming editions of the South Wales Argus.

They will be celebrated at an awards ceremony which will be held on the afternoon on May 25 in the Coldra Court Hotel where the overall Pride of Gwent winner for 2018 will be announced.

To find out more about the awards visit southwalesargus.co.uk/prideofgwent