Published: 10:00, 08 September 2021
| Updated: 13:25, 08 September 2021
The winners of the Kent FA Grassroots Workforce Awards have been announced.
A celebration of the individuals that make a difference to the county game took place last Thursday at the Tudor Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club.
The award ceremony is Kent FA’s chance to celebrate “the fantastic individuals who put their heart and soul into the grassroots game across Kent – and to say a huge thank you to the incredible volunteers who inspire us all."
During the award ceremony, the local winners for The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards were presented, as well as the 50 Year Lifetime Service Awards and the 50 Year Officiating Service Awards.
New for 2021, the Kent FA also launched The Colin Boswell Young Referee of the Year Award, which was presented to Josh Williams, who is from Ashford.
Mr Boswell, the former Kent FA president, died in May 2020 after a short battle with cancer. The FA said: “This award is a fitting tribute to Colin, which reflects his passion and dedication to the grassroots game.”
Winners of the FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards went to the following;
Coach-of-the-year for adults: Jo Treharne, Canterbury Old Bags; Coach-of-the-year for youth: Simon Ryan, Swanscombe Tigers; Club-of-the-Year: Aylesford; Volunteer-of-the-year: Paul Carter, Westerham JFC; Project of-the-year: Aylesford FC; Rising Star-of-the-Year: Ethan Clayton, Whitstable Town FC; The Spirit of Grassroots Football Award: Steven Groves, Tonbridge Junior FC.
Aylesford chairman James Fuller wrote: "Super proud and privileged as chairman of Aylesford to receive the awards. I know how amazing everyone is at the club and how hard they work. This is just the best recognition."
The club were recognised for their community work during the Covid pandemic, including 'support cards' which were distributed around the local area, to businesses, and schools.
At the time of the initiative, the club said: "Our intention is to show support to everyone in our community and those further afield. To show that it’s okay to not to be okay, and that everyone deserves a friend or at the very least a listening ear.
"As a community football team, we are blessed with the fact we have team mates, coaches, peers, and supporters to look to in our moments of need.
"Others often don’t have that luxury, so we as a club want to offer our services to be the team mate when you don’t feel like you have any."
Lifetime Service Award went to Colin West and Keith Vaughan.
50 Years Officiating Service Awards were presented to Stuart Clay, Stewart Spashett, Keith Wenham and Keith Whitlock
Kent FA chief executive Darryl Haden said: “These awards are truly inspirational. They are our way of thanking our outstanding volunteer workforce who work tirelessly to ensure grassroots football in Kent is the success it is today. Congratulations to all our fantastic winners.
“We would also like to congratulate all of the unsung heroes across the county, for the outstanding support and positivity that you have contributed to our communities throughout the pandemic.
“Without our volunteer heroes, grassroots football would not exist. So, on behalf of everyone at Kent FA, thank you.”