The tireless work of local rugby club volunteers was recognised at a special event at Norwich motor dealership Constitution Motors as part of an initiative by England Rugby and Mitsubishi Motors.

Stalwarts of local grassroots rugby were recognised at a special evening at Norfolk Mitsubishi dealership Constitution Motors.

England Rugby and Mitsubishi Motors have developed the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme for the local rugby community and grassroots clubs can recognise and reward the volunteers who make up an integral part of the game.

More than 20 people, including local rugby volunteers, gathered at the dealership, in Constitution Hill, Norwich, where Henry 'Speedy' Darling, from Lakenham Hewett Rugby Club, was announced as the overall winner. He will be going to the Twickenham stadium for the awards dinner and ceremony in September. There, three overall winners will be announced and will receive the prize of a Mitsubishi vehicle for the year.

Ian Coates, managing director of Constitution Motors, said: 'We were delighted to host this regional event on behalf of Mitsubishi UK. It is so important that we recognise and reward these volunteers who make up an integral part of the game.

'From the kit washers to the line painters, the game of rugby would not function without these people who work tirelessly behind the scenes. This initiative is a way to say a big thank you. All the volunteers who attended this evening have been nominated by someone at their club who has seen first hand the difference they have made to rugby in their local community.'

Mr Darling has helped develop the club by encouraging people to play rugby and making them feel welcome at the club.

The awards were launched in January to recognise those who put in their time off the pitch to help promote the game and keep clubs running.

With more than 100,000 volunteers across the country who give something back to grassroots rugby – week in, week out – Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme is a way of thanking them.

More than 1,500 volunteers nationwide were nominated by fellow club members, players and supporters.

Through the awards evenings, unbeatable matchday hospitality and money-can't-buy experience, including watching the senior squad train, England Rugby and Mitsubishi are rewarding the volunteers who make grassroots rugby happen.

Mitsubishi Motors is also supporting the next generation of England players, as principal partner and front-of-shirt sponsor of the England U20s, U18s and the National Performance Programme.