“Rugby League is my passion. I’ve coached since the early nineties. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, but the highlight as a coach was my year 10 winning the Yorkshire Plate Cup at Huddersfield earlier this year, that was a big achievement and it was massive for the academy. As I’m retiring it’s a great swan song for me.
“Over the years we have had children who have social difficulties and behaviour problems. So it’s a help for them to play the game, not to get rid of aggression but to make them feel wanted, part of something, part of the community.”
Tony added: “Winning the award feels surreal, I’m absolutely buzzing to have won it and the honour of my principle nominating me, but to win, I’m blown away.”
The school’s principal, Andrew Chubb paid tribute to Tony.
“As principal of Archbishop Sentamu Academy, I would like to pay tribute to the immense achievements of one of our teaching assistants, Tony Elvin,” he said.
“As a keen rugby fan and former player, he has worked tirelessly to promote the sport amongst the pupils in the academy, and has used this passion to engage some of the hardest to reach of our people.”
“Tony specialises in working with pupils who have challenging behaviour, and through becoming a key figure in their lives, has helped many of them make the right choices. In this way, he has been instrumental in helping to turn around the lives of many of the most disadvantaged young people in the country.”
Kelly Griffiths organiser of the Community Education Awards also paid tribute to Tony.
“Hard working community champions, like Tony are the reason this award was created,” she said.
"What Tony has achieved is amazing. He has, by going well above and beyond his job description, changed the lives of young people at this school. On behalf of everyone at the Community Education Awards I would like to congratulate him on this award which he deserves so dearly.”