Five people have been chosen from those that were submitted through the Saints’ website, with the winner to be revealed at the club’s End of Season Awards Dinner next Monday night.
Norman Barker has been at the heart of the rugby programme at Northampton School for Boys for many years, helping to develop one successful team after another.
Andrew Burley has been instrumental at Towcestrians RFC, making sure that both the seniors and minis and juniors sections of the club are sustainable and successful.
Neil Chater has been a key figure at Northampton Old Scouts for many years, coaching hundreds and hundreds of young players and making the club’s junior section very successful.
Alex Garbett is using sport to raise awareness about suicide rates among young people, organising a match in the memory of a school friend and raising funds for local charities.
Paul Tarpley has been coaching one of the most successful local age group teams for over a decade, leading Old Northamptonians over an outstanding series of seasons and bringing through several England age group internationals.
The Northampton Rugby Spirit Award has been introduced in conjunction with Northampton Borough Council, recognising both the place that rugby has within the town and the power that the sport has to improve the community as a whole.
Councillor Mary Markham, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “Rugby is an important part of life in our town. We all have a connection to the sport as every family or group of friends will include someone who is involved at some level from grass roots to following the action in the Aviva Premiership.
“The Rugby Spirit Award recognises how rugby brings people together and is a positive part of community life. Everyone nominated has shown how rugby can be a force for good with many heart-warming and inspiring stories. It cannot have been easy for the judges to create a shortlist, and all of the finalists deserve our respect.”
Saints’ head of community Sian Haynes said that the club’s own work in the community would not be possible without the work of people such as those shortlisted.
“The five people who have been shortlisted reflect rugby’s key values, not least hard work, dedication and commitment,” she said. “They have all made invaluable contributions to their own clubs, school or good cause, and indeed our own work in the community would not be possible without their input.
“They have changed the lives of many people, and certainly deserve their place on the shortlist for this special award.”
The Northampton Rugby Spirit Award will be handed out as part of the Saints’ End of Season Awards, along with the Supporters’ Player, Players’ Player and Young Player of the Season, the scorer of the Try of the Season, and caps and cufflinks to those players who have passed the 50, 100 and 200 appearance mark during 2014/15.
The black tie event, which will be hosted by the BBC’s face of Six Nations rugby, John Inverdale, and sponsored by Travis Perkins, is being held in a special marquee on the main pitch at Franklin’s Gardens on Monday, May 18th.