Grassroots heroes honoured at county awards

Oundle Town's Malcolm Smith won the Outstanding Contribution to Grassroots Football award
Oundle Town's Malcolm Smith won the Outstanding Contribution to Grassroots Football award

Northamptonshire Football Association recognised local grassroots heroes at its annual Community Awards ceremony at Wicksteed Park in Kettering.

Hosted by qualified referee Stuart Francis, a total of 13 awards were handed out to volunteers to recognise the work they do in supporting the grassroots game.

Kettering FC won the award for Best Inclusive Project

Kettering FC won the award for Best Inclusive Project

All 13 county winners have been put forward for a regional award.

If the winners are successful at regional level they will then be put through to a national final, with those winners being announced at The 2017 FA Community Shield final at Wembley Stadium.

Head of football development at the NFA, Ian Tinto, said: “The Community Awards evening recognises the best and brightest from what is already an outstanding group of over 9,500 volunteers county wide.

“The evening gives just a little bit of recognition to individuals who reflect the entire workforce, giving up their time, without pay to allow people within their local communities the opportunity to play the game that they love.

“The examples set by this select group of individuals serve as inspiration to all people who work within grassroots football to continue our good work for the future.

“Congratulations to all of our winners who are highly deserving recipients in all categories.”

Speaking after collecting the Outstanding Contribution to Grassroots Football award, Oundle Town’s Malcolm Smith said: “I love what I do for the club. Without the club I don’t know what I’d be doing day in and day out.”

Meanwhile, the 2017 Young Volunteer of the Year, Francis Banks of Moulton FC, added: “Being able to coach the younger kids and watch them grow into the players they are makes it all worthwhile.”

Award winners

Young Volunteer of the Year: Francis Banks (Moulton FC).

Best Inclusive Project: Simon Aston, Steve Wall and Reg Austin (Kettering FC).

Coach of the Year: Bernie Myers (Parklands FC).

Charter Standard League of the Year: Teamwork Sports & Trophy Centre Northants Combination League.

Charter Standard Club of the Year: Brixworth Juniors.

Charter Standard Development Club of the Year: Weedon FC.

Charter Standard Community Club of the Year: Glinton & Northborough.

Outstanding Contribution to Grassroots Football: Malcolm Smith (Oundle Town FC).

Welfare Officer of the Year: Anita Baxter (Parklands FC).

Groundsman of the Year: Lee Arnold (Heyford Athletic).

Respect Award: Welland Valley FC.

Young Referee of the Year: Tom Hughes.

Outstanding Contribution to Refereeing: Chris Knowles.