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Mr John Gracie

Mr John Gracie has been involved in the sport of Tug of War within the Army for his whole career when he was serving in the Royal Artillery 1978-2001. Since retirement he has remained heavily involved within the Army and Gunner Tug of War community and as the Braemar Highland Games Services Secretary since 2015. His role as Braemar Secretary ensures that the Army are well represented at a high-profile Royal event on an annual basis.

This recommendation will concentrate on the period 2019-2021. During this period Mr Gracie has assisted the Army Tug of War Association (ATOWA) committee on several fronts ensuring that the sport has not only survived a difficult period but has managed to thrive.

In 2019 the ATOWA Secretary and Treasurer, the only 2 NGB qualified judges, were deployed overseas at short notice. Mr Gracie volunteered to not only attend and judge at each event, but he took on the role of liaising with the NGB to ensure that guest judges also attended to help facilitate safe and compliant events.

Throughout the uncertain times of 2020 and with no ATOW events unable to take place, Mr Gracie liaised with the NGB and advised the committee on policy changes that were constantly changing in an ever-shifting environment.  During this period Mr Gracie spent a considerable amount of his personal time to assist the committee with the refurbishment, cataloguing and storage of the substantial number of trophies that the ATOWA are responsible for.

With the revival of ATOW during the 2021 season, Mr Gracie took on the role of Assistant coach to the Army Ladies team who he had previously coached and reached the World and European Championships with. He assisted WO1 Gareth Wyatt all season and his vast experience helped to ensure that the Ladies team had a fantastic season, winning 3 medals at the English National Championships and then being selected to represent England at the UK National Championships where they won 2 more medals. The task for the coaching team was made greater due to the deployment of seasoned pullers, leading to them to start the season with a very inexperienced team. The vast improvement attained throughout the season is attributable to the time and effort invested in the sport and team by Mr Gracie.

Mr Gracie is nominated for this recognition due to his continued unwavering support of the sport within the Army over a period of 41 years.