Most well known for her four-year tenancy as QuidditchUK president, Mel Piper has recently taken a step back from high profile volunteering. After a fantastic run as president, really pushing quidditch from a questionable sport to be considered as a real sport, Mel has really worked hard for the UK quidditch community, and the community has reaped the rewards.
Starting her volunteer journey in 2012, Mel sat on the Keele Squirrels committee in various positions until 2015. In addition to her Keele committee duties, Mel became the Teams Director for QuidditchUK in 2014, and then took over QuidditchUK presidency from Amy Maidment in 2015; she has been the longest-serving president so far.
Mel initially became involved with the Keele committee as the society was in danger of folding without more volunteers, and from then on she wanted to help grow and develop something important to her. She became the Teams Director when the very first Executive Management Team for QuidditchUK was set up, as by then Mel already had a lot of experience in managing societies. When asked, Mel said that presidency felt like “the next logical step”.
During Mel’s tenure as president, she founded and sat on the first committee for Dev Cup in 2017, a tournament aimed at newly developing teams to be coached by higher level players and compete against other teams at a similar level. Since its inception, Dev Cup has been a roaring success, with two of the three medalling teams in 2018 attending the European Qualifying Tournament in 2019, and one even reaching the European Quidditch Cup, Division 1. The two teams invited to compete at the British Quidditch Cup from Dev Cup 2019 ranked 16th and 24th – an astounding achievement. Mel has coached Bath Quidditch Club and Manchester Minotaurs at Dev Cup 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Mel played for Keele from 2012 to 2018, before joining Velociraptors Quidditch Club’s seconds team, Megalodons. She has been an integral part of the club this season, taking position on the starting line up as a formidable beater. She has previously played in the Quidditch Premier League for two seasons with West Midlands Revolution, and will be playing this summer for Eastern Mermaids. She has also been a qualified referee for four years.
“Our whole sport wouldn’t exist without people taking a little bit of time out of their lives to help it grow. There are very limited other sports where we have such direct access to our NGB and internationally, directly being able to make changes and develop it as a whole. That’s something that’s always excited me and still does now.
Volunteering doesn’t have to be as much as I ended up doing. But even goal reffing at a tournament means that tournament happens. Means those games happen. Means those memories are made. Having that power to provide a platform for people to grow and ‘find themselves’ which so often happens is so rewarding.”
Although Mel has now retired as QuidditchUK president, she will not be leaving the quidditch community. She is looking forward to continuing playing with Megalodons next season, and to the upcoming Quidditch Premier League season. She is highly respected within the UK quidditch community not only as a player or a volunteer, but as a friendly and welcoming person who is always ready to offer a kind word and some advice if needed.