By Scott Mills (Marathon runner and Assistant coach at the Weir Archer Academy)
On Monday 14th November 2016 at the Royal Borough of Kingston Sports Awards ceremony, one of the most prestigious awards in the borough was about to be presented to a very special person.
At an event that celebrated Kingston’s most successful athletes, coaches and sports clubs, it was no surprise to see Jenny Archer MBE of the Weir Archer Academy being awarded with the Eileen Gray Award.
Now for those that don’t know, the Eileen Gray award is given to a coach or an athlete who has motivated and been an inspiration to others to reach their potential, something that Jenny has dedicated her entire life to.
From starting out as a PE teacher to breaking down gender barriers by not only becoming one of the first women working in professional football but also taming Wimbledon Football Club’s infamous FA Cup winning ‘Crazy Gang’ in the 1980s, Jenny has had an incredible career in sport spanning over 40 years.
During this time Jenny also managed to coach one of Britain’s most decorated and successful athletes; David Weir to six Paralympic Gold and IPC World Championship medals and six London Marathon titles since the pair teamed up in 2002.
However, it is not the awards or the accolades in which has been the driving force to why this extremely hard-working coach has been so successful.
In fact, what motivates Jenny is actually helping others and seeing her athletes achieve what some people perceive as unachievable goals.
A prime example of that is the Weir Archer Academy.
When it was formed in 2013, both Jenny and David had a vision not only to improve participation rates in disabled sport but also to be a dominant feeder club for Paralympic athletes.
Since then Jenny has worked tirelessly hard every single day of her life to make sure that her athletes realise not only their full potential but also their dreams.
No matter whether it’s rain, snow, sleet or shine, Jenny will be at Richmond Park every morning without fail to train and support her athletes whilst also being at Kingsmeadow Athletics track on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
You only have to go back as far as this year’s Paralympics in Rio to see the result of Jenny’s work with the likes of David Weir, Mo Jomni and Mickey Bushell MBE all representing Great Britain.