A MUM who launched a girl’s rugby team to give her daughter somewhere to play was praised by the Sports Minister after collecting an award.

Paula Bradbury scooped the Community Volunteer of the Year prize at the Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards in recognition of her work at Winnington Park.

With the support of the award-winning Sale Sharks Community Trust, the Northwich-based club is about to launch an under 18s team.

That means they will cater for all ages of women and girls, helping the Burrows Hill outfit to become one of the Rugby Football Union’s few ‘full house’ organisations.

“Sport has an amazing power to bring communities together, whether that’s through a game in the local park or thousands of fans watching on match-day,” said Tracey Crouch MP.

“These awards showcase the remarkable community champions who keep sport at the heart of society and help more people get active.”

Bradbury was one of four winners during a ceremony at the House of Commons on Tuesday.

At the same time, she was announced as the new chairman of girls’ and women’s rugby at Winnington Park during the club’s annual meeting.

She has also taken on a leading role in the Cheshire RFU women and girls’ forum, as well as coaching the county’s under 18s and under 15s representative teams.

“I put in a minimum of 20 hours a week, sometimes as many as 40, and I work hard to make sure that women and girls have every chance to be a valid and active part of the sport,” she said.

“I've received a great deal of support from both the RFU and from Sale Sharks, and over the past three years I've worked with hundreds of children.

“My son and daughter both play [at Winnington], and there’s nothing better than seeing their smiling faces on a Sunday, and the bonds they form with their teammates.

“I don't do this for me, I do this for them.”

The awards were supported by BT, and the firm’s Charity and Community Director, Suzy Christopher, was on the judging panel.

She said: “The story behind Paula setting up a girls’ team was thoroughly inspiring; her daughter wanted to play but she found out there was nothing in the area offering girls’ rugby.

“Without her, women’s rugby in Northwich would not have developed as it has. She is a remarkable woman and a worthy winner.”