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 a host of volunteers from across the county receive awards.
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.
He paid tribute to grassroots football and all the volunteers who make it possible, and related some anecdotes from his time at the club.
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.
There was 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 the seven FA Community Awards.
Upon Beccles Town Youth receiving the FA Charter Standard Club of the Year award, it was announced that they had also won the Regional award.
The final presentation was to Framlingham Town FC president Bryan Parker, who was the recipient of an FA 50-Year Service award.
The prize for a 13-night Canary Island Cruise, donated by Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines, was won by Mike Powles, who has recently stepped down as chairman of Walsham-le-Willows.
Mike Phillips, who co-organised the evening with colleague Nick Garnham, gave thanks to the Ipswich staff and Sheepshanks and Burley as well as adding: “It was a great night, and I am pleased everyone enjoyed themselves. It was a fantastic way to close the season.”
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.