Suffolk grassroots heroes honoured at Ipswich Town awards ceremony
Unsung heroes of the grassroots game in Suffolk were honoured at an awards ceremony at Portman Road.
The annual Suffolk FA Awards Ceremony sponsored by McDonald’s and Ransomes Jacobsen was staged before Ipswich Town’s Sky Bet Championship fixture against Middlesbrough.
Awards winners received their prizes before being treated to an entertaining talk from former Ipswich Town and Northern Ireland midfielder Bryan Hamilton, now a match-day host at the ground.
They were then paraded on the pitch before kick-off before watching the match.
Awards handed out on the night included the Groundsman of the Year to Old Newton United's Michael Brundish, Coach of The Year to Stowupland Falcons' Gavin Johnson and Match Official of The Year to Mildenhall-based George Byrne.
Stowmarket's Vicky Godhard collected the Supporter of the Year award while Martin Burroughs, of Bury St Edmunds, and Paul Welham, of Stowmarket, both picked up 25-Year Referee Long Service Awards on the night.
Suffolk FA chief executive Richard Neal said: “The Suffolk FA Awards, sponsored by Ransomes Jacobsen and McDonald’s, provide an annual opportunity for the Suffolk footballing community to recognise those volunteers, coaches, parents, and individuals who work so hard behind the scenes to ensure every team in Suffolk enjoys their weekly dose of football.
“We were delighted to host the 2018 ceremony with Ipswich Town Football Club, and include awarding the Suffolk Groundsman of the Year winners and those referees who have reached 25 and 50 years’ service to the game."
The full list of award winners was as follows:
- Groundsman of the Year: Winner: Dave Shave collected on behalf of Michael Brundish of Old Newton United; Joint second: Tony Adams of Claydon FC and Neil Hitter of Bacton United 89 on behalf of Roger Lawson.
- Referee Long Service Awards: 50 Years: Martin Stiff; 25 Years: Paul Bailey, Martin Burroughs, Gary Nethercott, Terry Scott, Paul Welham.
The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards:
- Charter Standard Club of the Year: Sole Bay FC – collected by Shaun Doig;
- Charter Standard League of the Year: Norfolk & South Youth League – collected by Paul Newby & Harry Amey;
- Grounds Team of the Year: Locomotive Laxfield Youth FC – collected by Marcus Payne;
- Community Project of the Year: Norfolk & South Youth League – collected by Paul Emblem;
- The Respect Award - Winner: Collected by Paul Newby on behalf of Shaun Platten; Highly Commended: Keith Mills;
- Supporter of the Year: Vicky Godhard;
- Young Volunteer of the Year: Alex Shipp;
- Volunteer of the Year – Winner: Tony Adams; Highly Commended: Bob McCartney;
- Coach of the Year – Winner: Gavin Johnson; Highly Commended: Dan Coe;
- Match Official of the Year: George Byrne.