Relationship Management team

Jenny Buckjam-HedgesName: Jenny Buckham-Hedges

What I do: Head of Relationship Management

How I got here:  Following a brief flirtation with teaching, I landed my dream job as a Hockey Development Officer for the North (Durham, Northumberland and Cumbria!)  I then moved to the big smoke after two years to take up the role of London Regional Manager working for the Hockey Association.  After two years in post, I moved into the National Coaching Manager role for England Hockey, and two years later joined UK Coaching (formerly Sports Coach UK) as the Area Manager for London and the South East. Since then I have moved roles within the organisation, but my last five years have been as Head of the Coaching Network.

Greatest Coaching Achievements: Coaching Henley Ladies to promotion in the South Regional League.

People I have enjoyed working with: The staff at UK Coaching, past and present!

Sporting Hero: Martina Navratilova


Sian Foley Name: Sian Foley

What I do:  Relationship Manager

How I got here: Began my career as a self employed netball coach working in schools and for the West Yorkshire Netball Academy whilst assessing UKCC Level 1 and 2 Netball qualifications. I then started working for England Netball and in a 2 and a half year period worked as the West Yorkshire Netball Development Officer and National Coaching Development Manager and then I made the move to UK Coaching (formerly Sports Coach UK)!

Greatest Coaching Achievements: I have coached girls who have represented England and played Superleague netball as well as coached an U16 team that reached the England Netball National Schools Finals and finished 5th.

People I have enjoyed working with: People who are hard working, team players, enthusiastic and have a good sense of humour!

Sporting Hero: Lucas Radebe – a Leeds United legend and an ambassador for humanitarian work in Malawi, a country I have visited and done volunteering work in. I really admire his endeavours on and off the pitch!


Ollie HoltName: Ollie Holt

What I do: Relationship Manager

How I got here: Having been an archery coach for 15 years, taking on roles at local, county and GB level, and more recently as coach educator, I became the Coaching Development Manager at Archery GB in 2007. This role involved the strategic planning and development of archery coaching. I also spent 10 years as a Biochemist gaining my PhD in 2007, during which I spent a lot of my time thinking about coaching.

Greatest Coaching Achievements: Coaching two people to learn archery who then joined the University archery club and are now engaged!

People I have enjoyed working with: Anyone willing to get up before 6AM for training. Also, Chelsea Clinton and her two massive bodyguards who had an uncanny knack with a bow and arrow.

Sporting Hero: My wife (The first Oxford rower to win the Oxford vs Cambridge Lightweight Women’s boat race three times – that takes a lot of early morning outings and not much food!).


Clare FreerName: Clare Freer

What I do: Relationship Manager

How I got here: I have always been focused on improvement and development whether in business or in my personal life, so after completing a degree in Sport & Exercise Science I moved into the area of performance analysis. During this time I worked alongside some of the best coaches in the world to develop performance analysis systems to help coaches and managers better understand and improve their athlete’s performances. From here I moved on to work as part of an editorial team whereby I regularly produced sports reports for professional sports clubs and various print and broadcast media clients.

Greatest Sporting Achievements: Being rather injury prone with an extremely high competitive streak is not a good mix, so by the time I was 14 I had to give up most contact sports. In my haste I decided to take up cricket. I now have a family and all the commitments that come with it, but I have still managed to keep up my cricket and still play regularly throughout the summer at club level.

People I have enjoyed working with: Excluding my UK Coaching (formerly Sports Coach UK) colleagues of course, I would have to say that during my six years working in football and media I worked with some amazing people from the coaches and players to the extremely hard working people behind the scenes.

Sporting Hero: Unquestionably it has to be Charlotte Edwards, the newly retired England women’s cricket captain. Her ability, attitude and love for the game has made women’s cricket what it is today and alone she has done more for the game than any other single person or organisation has achieved.


Vicki PutsonName: Vicki Putson

What I do: Relationship Manager

How I got here: I have had a rather unorthodox journey having studied Civil Engineering (and later Manufacturing Systems) at university. It was my time as a Sabbatical Officer at Teesside Students Union that really drove me towards a career in Sport. After spending two years running the student community coaching programme at Northumbria University, I stepped into the governing bodies of sport world. I had an amazing seven years working as a Women’s Rugby Development Manager at the Rugby Football Union before moving on to England Netball as Regional Manager. In 2014 I moved to UK Coaching (formerly Sports Coach UK) as a Coaching Network Manager for the North West before making the transition to my current role as a Relationship Manager. Alongside my full time employment I’ve also served on the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA, now BUCS) executive board, and on the board of the Rugby Football Union for women as a non-portfolio director.

Greatest Sporting Achievement: It would probably have to be running the Great North Run and raising over £1000 for a children’s cancer charity. Being a rugby union forward, distance running was never my forte and it is still easily the hardest sporting thing I’ve ever done. I still however, have aspirations to run a marathon so watch this space.

People I have enjoyed working with: The most enjoyable (and challenging!) working relationships I have had have been with volunteers. I have nothing but admiration for the amount of time and effort these guys put into making sport happen, particularly at grass roots levels.

Sporting Hero: For me, it has to be Jonny Wilkinson. Fantastic role model for any young athlete wanting to make it in sport. The consummate professional both on and off the rugby pitch.


Simon ThomasName: Simon Thomas

What I do: Relationship Manager

How I got here:  Prior to joining UK Coaching (formerly Sports Coach UK), I worked for the LTA in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Prior to that I was working in Gloucester as a Sports Development Officer with sports facility responsibility which built on experience in sport centres in Suffolk. Prior to travelling overseas, I was a full time tennis coach after finishing my studies.

Greatest Coaching Achievements: I thrive on Children’s Coaching. My biggest motivation comes from starting people in the game and seeing them develop – either as a performance player or continuing to play. I have coached players who have gone on to a full time playing career, hundreds more who continue to play and have a smile when they remember their tennis coaching sessions with me. I am also really pleased that my eldest daughter is now a qualified coach and my youngest daughter loves her sport and is beginning to excel in some.

People I have enjoyed working with: I have built really good relationships throughout my career, at present I have many colleagues I really enjoy working with. A special friend/colleague was Tim Stocks who was sadly beaten by cancer a few years ago.

Sporting Hero: There are that many; at the moment Kenny Dalglish.


Paul ThompsonName: Paul Thompson

What I do: Relationship Manager

How I got here: Prior to working for UK Coaching (formerly Sports Coach UK), I have had a wide variety of roles linked to sport, individual and community development.  I moved abroad for 3 years coaching football for the MLS linked to the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes. I then held a number of positions back in the UK that looked at using sport to enable wider social and community benefits. This included working as a Work Based Learning Mentor for a consortium of work based learning providers across the North East. As well as working for NACRO, Football Foundation and Foundation of Light managing a wider range of programmes, initiatives and community hubs in the most disadvatnged areas in the North East. Prior to joining UK Coaching, I worked for Tyne & Wear Sport a County Sports Partnership as their Coaching Development Manager supporting governing bodies of sport and a variety of local partners. I also coach in the Foundation stage at SAFC Academy as well as tutoring for a variety of organisations such as governing bodies of sport, Street Games and UK Coaching.

Greatest Coaching Achievements: I have a real passion for coaching children & young people. Seeing them develop as people and achieving their goals both in sport and beyond gives me a great deal of pride and is the real reason I got into coaching in the first place.

People I have enjoyed working with: I have had the pleasure of working with a number of great people who have all left an impact on me as a person. The common trait that all of these people had was a passion for what they do and always wanting to develop themselves both personally and professionally.

Sporting Hero: Everyone that gives us their time to support sport across the UK and beyond. Really cheesy, but everybody plays their part in whatever role they do.


Pete EzardName: Pete Ezard

What I do: Relationship Manager

How I got here: After graduating from University of Birmingham in Sport and Recreation Studies, I have spent 20 years working in the sports sector.  Following seven years working with various local authority sports development teams, I was one of 49 Coach Development Officers to be employed by UK Coaching (formerly Sports Coach UK) in 2004.  Subsequently I have taken on a number of roles at UK Coaching including Coaching Consultant, Coaching Network Manager for the East Midlands and then over across to the Governing Body Support team working as a Coaching System Manager.  Following the restructure I am now a Relationship Manager and in the short term will focus on Home Country Sports Council and governing bodies of sport relationships including queries relating to UKCC.

Greatest Coaching Achievement: I have been very lucky to have worked with a number of cricketers in Shropshire who ended up playing the game professionally. I don’t think I can really take any credit for the successful careers they have mapped out for themselves but it was a pleasure to have worked with James Taylor, Adam Shantry and Dan Redfern over the last ten years.

People I have enjoyed working with: Externally that has to be the team at Sport Northern Ireland.  Brilliant to work with and even better to socialise with.  Internally, too many to mention.  Many good people have been through the doors at UK Coaching over the 13 years I have been with the company.  It would be remiss to single out anyone.

Sporting Hero: Tony Kelly.  Not a familiar name but ran the Shrewsbury Town FC midlfield during the late 80s / early 90s with flair, vision and skill.  A joy to watch.

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