Norfolk volunteers are recognised at county FA awards night
Football’s finest were recognised and rewarded last week as Norfolk FA held their Volunteer Awards.
A number of West Norfolk clubs and individuals were recognised at the event, held at Space in Norwich, and led by chief executive Matt Carpenter, and football development officer Harry Diggens while special guest for the evening was Former Norwich City star Darren Eadie.
Around 150 guests enjoyed an entertaining question-and-answer session with Eadie, as well as an insightful and candid talk from the former Norwich City player about the ups and downs of his career and his own struggles with mental health.
Usually an annual event, the 2020 Awards were unfortunately cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, resulting in the latest occasion seeing winners from both the 19/20 and 20/21 seasons recognised for the fantastic commitment they’ve shown to the grassroots game.
With hundreds of nominations, categories were tougher than ever to judge, and the Governing Body recognised more people than ever before with multiple highly commended awards for deserving individuals who only just missed out on the win.
A total of 58 awards were handed out by chairman Michael Banham and Eadie, across two formats: The FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards, and the Norfolk FA Long Service Awards.
Banham said: “I was delighted that we were able to hold our Awards evening this year and I was really pleased with how the evening went and my thanks go to everyone who made it possible.
“It was an honour to meet Darren Eadie and also to listen to Louise Jordan-Hall and I am really looking forward to working with Norfolk & Waveney Mind over the course of our three year partnership.
“It really was great to be able to see so many of our volunteer workforce on the night and to be able to mingle amongst them, shake hands and be able to chat with them about the work they do and also to be able to celebrate their success.”
The occasion also saw the formal announcement of Norfolk FA’s new partnership with Norfolk and Waveney Mind.
The mental health charity is Norfolk FA’s official charity partner for the next three seasons and represents the Associations commitment to improving mental health awareness as highlighted in their new three-year strategy.
Chair of the board of trustees at Norfolk and Waveney Mind, Louise Jordan-Hall, was present on the evening and delivered a hard-hitting speech to all in attendance which highlighted the increasing impact of mental health issues throughout society.
The FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards, 2019/20 season
League of the Year: North West Norfolk League
Volunteer of the Year (highly commended): Jackie Price (Fakenham Town FC) and Ray Ewart (Swaffham Town FC).
Club of the Year: King’s Lynn Community FC.
League of the Year: Central & South Norfolk League.
Volunteer of the Year: Philip Yates (King’s Lynn Community FC); highly commended: Shane Fish (Fakenham FC).
The Norfolk FA Long Service Awards, 2019/20 Season
10 Years’ League Officer Award: Andrew Dix (North West Norfolk League).
25 Years’ Club Official Award: David Page (Heacham FC).
25 Years’ League Official Award: Graham Jubb (Anglian Combination), Janice Garner (Mid Norfolk Youth League) & Paul Smalley (Mid Norfolk Youth League).