Grassroots volunteers are honoured at awards night

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The Suffolk Football Association (FA) Awards Dinner sponsored by McDonald’s proved a fitting climax to the season at grassroots level in the county.

More than 130 guests attended the evening, which saw volunteers from across the county honoured, including Cornard Dynamos, who received the FA Charter Standard Development Club award .

The Awards Dinner, which was held in the Sir Bobby Robson Suite at Portman Road on Thursday, also included a three-course meal plus a speech from former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks CBE.

There was also an audience-led question-and-answer session which saw Sheepshanks joined on the stage by former Ipswich Town manager George Burley.

Eight referees were presented with Long Service awards by Sheepshanks, while the Groundsman of the Year Awards were handed out by Mark Harrod of sponsors Mark Harrod Ltd.

Suffolk FA chairman David Porter presented Player of the Year Awards for the county’s three representative teams, which included Hadleigh United’s Dan Knight for the Under-16s.

There were also 25 appearance awards given to four members of the Ladies’ team.

Mark Richards, who owns a franchise of McDonald’s restaurants and sponsored the event, handed out seven FA Community Awards, which included Cornard Dynamos and Hadleigh United’s Gavin Peters, who received the Outstanding Contribution to Community Football.

Mike Phillips, who co-organised the evening with colleague Nick Garnham, gave thanks to the Ipswich staff and Sheepshanks and Burley.

Award recipients were as follows: Referees’ Long Service Awards: 25 years – Graham Apperley, Geoffrey Cook, Paul Cunningham, William Freeman, Peter Hart, Glenn Yellop; 40 years – David Theobald; 50 years – Mick Leeds.

Groundsman of the Year Awards: 1st Darryle Flegg (Achilles), 2nd Michael Brundish (Old Newton United), 3rd Martin Stiff (Claydon).

Representative Team Awards: Ladies’ Player of the Year: Marcie Prettyman; Under-18 Player of the Year: Jack Newman; Under-16 Player of the Year: Dan Knight. 25 Appearances: Danielle Bitten, Amanda Crump, Amy Howlett, Lindsey Smith. FA Community Awards: FA Charter Standard League: Norfolk & Suffolk Youth League; FA Charter Standard Development Club; Cornard Dynamos; FA Charter Standard Club: Beccles Town; FA Community Club: Waveney;

Outstanding Contribution to Community Football: Gavin Peters; Highly Commended: Peter Cocker.

Volunteer of the Year: Rod Cooper; Young volunteer of the Year: Maria Palmer; FA 50-Year Service award: Bryan Parker of Framlingham Town.