ENGLAND World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst has praised the dedication of volunteer Paul Flitney, who has gained recognition in the FA Community Awards.
Thirty-nine-year-old Paul is the co-ordinator of Ross Juniors FC and has won the West Midland’s Volunteer-of-the-Year Award category, presented by McDonald’s.
Hurst, a McDonald’s director of football, said: “Volunteers like Paul help to develop young players’ love of the game and are integral in keeping the grassroots game alive.
“These awards are a way of sharing their stories and thanking them for their dedication and I wish Paul the best of luck at the national awards in August.”
Paul’s nomination will now be considered by a national judging panel, including Hurst and Trevor Brooking, who will select the national FA Community Award winners.
The nominations will receive their national award at a prestigious ceremony, to be attended by legends of the game at Wembley ahead of the FA Community Shield on August 11.
The FA Community Awards recognise and celebrate those coaches, volunteers, clubs and leagues in counties across England, who dedicate their time to grassroots football in their local community.
“It is an honour to be recognised – but this is an award for the whole club and all the volunteers – not just for me,” said Paul, who lives in Ross-on-Wye.
Paul has dedicated the last five years to co-ordinating junior football at Ross Juniors FC.
Thanks to his commitment, the club’s junior section is thriving and now boasts more than 10 teams and 300 members.
The girls’ section has particularly benefited from Paul’s enthusiasm, the club now offers football to three age groups ranging from under-9 to under-11. In May last year, Paul arranged the Adam Stansfield Charity Football Tournament in honour of former Hereford United player Adam Stansfield.
The tournament attracted more than 30 junior teams from the local area. This year, 16 teams girls’ team competed in a tournament, raising just under £1,400 for the Adam Stansfield Foundation.
Paul also arranged for some of the Arsenal women’s team, including England striker Ellen White, Steph Houghton, Kim Little and Jordan Nobbs to host a coaching session at the club. The session was held to help the girls teams celebrate their first year anniversary as members of the Ross Juniors.
Hurst added: “Paul has been pivotal to the development of the club’s junior section, his dedication and loyalty is infections and has allowed the club to progress and be the best it possibly can for the local community.”