||Susan Dennison, from Ripon, who has been involved in grassroots football for the last 42 years. When Susan first became involved with Ripon City FC in 1968 it was very rare to hear about women in football. In spite of this, she persevered and recently received her 40 years of long service award from her local County FA. Susan is currently the Chairman of the club, a qualified referee, and carries out a wide range of duties from tea making to club meetings.|
At 62 years old Susan is still firmly involved with Ripon City FC and in 42 years she has only missed three club meetings and has attended every home game. She is currently spearheading a relocation plan for the club which will mean bigger and better facilities including two new pitches, a training pitch and even cricket nets for use in the community. She is also responsible for all of the club’s fundraising efforts.
McDonald’s Director of Football, Sir Geoff Hurst, who was part of the judging panel, said: “Susan is a very inspiring lady and has made a huge impact at Ripon City FC. Her dedication to grassroots football in her community is commendable and she has worked tirelessly to improve the football experience for youngsters at the club.”
||Lewis Laine, from St Martins Guernsey, who was nominated for the award by St Martins AC Chairman Henry Davey following a lifetime dedicated to the grassroots game in Guernsey. |
After watching his first island game in 1933, Lewis joined the St Martins committee in 1969 and since then has undertaken a wide range of duties at the club.
Even now at 90 years of age Lewis continues to be a leading ambassador for the club and carries out many jobs on a weekly basis including gate man, dressing room cleaner and kit washer. He will often be found at the club at 8am carrying out his duties as well as greeting match officials, collecting drink’s orders and sorting out match fees on match days.
Sir Geoff Hurst said: “We received hundreds of entries for this year’s awards but Lewis’ nomination really stood out. He has been an ambassador for grassroots football in Guernsey for over 40 years and has selflessly given up his time every week to volunteer at his local club. He is a credit to St Martins AC and should be extremely proud of his achievements.”
||Bob King, from Broughton Astley, was nominated for the award by Development Manager at Saffron Dynamo FC, Martin Stanley, who recognises Bob’s unwavering dedication to the grassroots game and his particular commitment to Saffron Dynamo, a club which Bob and his friends set up in 1963.|
Over the years, Bob has been at the forefront of the club’s development and growth from humble beginnings to the establishment of the new £500,000 facilities. He has been Club Secretary since 1969 and recently received a long service award with distinction from Leicestershire and Rutland County FA. Bob has been responsible for building the number of junior teams at the club and now Saffron Dynamo AC is represented at every age group from under-7s to under-16s.
“Bob is a real credit to Saffron Dynamo, from starting the new club all those years ago to helping it grow into the thriving community football hub which it is today,” said Sir Geoff. “His dedication has benefitted youngsters in the local area and he should be really proud of this nomination.”
||Chris Reeves, from Dorset, first took an interest in Poole Town FC back in 1965 when he was just 13 years old and has been involved with the club in the decades since, currently holding the position of Chairman of the Board.|
Chris has been at the forefront of Poole Town’s development over the last 46 years, and has been credited with finding them a new home when the club faced extinction which has resulted in success on the pitch – winning the Wessex League Premier Division for the last two season and reaching The FA Carlsberg Vase Semi-Final this year.
“The dedication of Chris and sheer hard work he’s put into his club over so many years cannot be commended enough,” commented Sir Geoff. “Without Chris, it’s clear Poole Town FC would not be the club it is today.”
||Dawn Barnard, from Chelmsford, has been championing women’s and girl’s football in Essex for the last 25 years. Having formed and played for Chelmsford City Ladies & Girls FC, she was also instrumental in helping to create and run both the Essex County Girl’s Football League and the Essex County Women’s Football League.|
At her own club, Chelmsford City FC, Dawn has been a key force in the growth of both the senior and junior sections, meaning that any female, regardless of age or ability, has the opportunity to play football.
Sir Geoff Hurst added: “Dawn is a real inspiration to any female, young or old, who wants to play football. The impact she has had on women’s and girl’s football in Essex is remarkable and she has been instrumental in helping to develop professionalism within the game as well as creating more opportunities for girls to enjoy and play football at grassroots level."
||Derrick May, from Coventry, now in his 70s, has volunteered as John Bryan Coventry Minor League Secretary for many years and continues to work long hours, dedicating his time to the development of football at grassroots level in his area.|
Derrick’s passion for football means he’s always supporting initiatives to help youngsters play the game. Derrick has had much to deal with including the recent illness of his wife, but still finds the time to mentor and train new referees and arrange matches based on their ability, to the benefit of grassroots football in Coventry and the young players out on the pitch.
“Derrick’s an inspiration,” commented Sir Geoff. “He’s shown a lifelong commitment to football and gives up his time so that others – and in particular local youngsters – play football week in, week out. Without others like Derrick grassroots football just wouldn’t survive – it’s as simple as that.”
||Gerry Sweeney, from Cheshire, turns 70 years old this month and has over 40 years experience volunteering his time to grassroots football. |
Gerry currently holds the position of Referee and Registration’s Secretary in his local leagues Mid-Cheshire Youth and Cheshire Girls, while continuing to referee games most weekends.
Sir Geoff said: “Without people like Gerry giving up their time week in, week out, grassroots football doesn’t happen and youngsters don’t get a game – it’s as simple as that. Volunteers like Gerry putting hours of their free time into the game over many years – or in Gerry’s case, decades – are vital to the game and I can’t commend their efforts enough.”
||Ken and Margaret Cherry, from Bexhill-On-Sea, are a remarkable husband and wife double-act who have dedicated a combined 90 years of their lives to the club they founded in 1966, Little Common Football Club. During this time they have ensured that opportunities have been available for hundreds of youngsters to progress through the club ranks and have been great servants for the local community and surrounding areas.|
The couple, both in their 70s, are just as heavily involved in the club today as they were during its formation 45 years ago. Margaret remains in the role of Club Secretary and Treasurer, as well as actively carrying out the roles of cleaner, ‘tea girl’, kit washer and bar maid on match days.
Ken is Club Chairman and also helps maintain the club house and set-up on match days (laying kit out, corner flags and nets).
“The commitment and selfless hard work of Ken and Margaret Cherry over such a long period of time is incredible, truly outstanding,” said Sir Geoff. “Without them it’s clear Little Common FC wouldn’t be what it is today and football relies on people like Ken and Margaret – they’re the lifeblood of the grassroots game.”