The heroes of Welsh grassroots football were honoured at the 2017 McDonald's Welsh Community Football Awards ceremony.
Deserving volunteers from across Wales were handed awards by Welsh football legends like Ian Rush and Ryan Giggs ahead of Wales’ World Cup win over Austria at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Wales’ record goal scorer Rush said: “The biggest influence on my career was my dad. The encouragement he gave me from a young age really pushed me forward and the people winning these awards will have the same influence on the young players they work with.
Wrexham based Brickfield Rangers were named Welsh Community Club of the year for the third time in 15 years.
On receiving the award, the club’s CEO Paul Hooson said: “Each time it just gets more exciting.
“We’ve expanded massively and this award helps us promote who we are. People look and think we must be doing everything right. Hopefully we are.”
Rhosddu United coach Ashley Edwards was awarded the People’s Volunteer of the Year Award, earning nearly 4,000 of the record 7,300 nationwide votes cast.
He said: “I thank everyone for their votes. I’m overwhelmed.
“Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces is what I get out of bed for on a Saturday morning.”
Llandrindod Wells FC’s Julie Christopher was named Mum of the Year for her work setting up the girls’ section at the Mid Wales club.
She said: “I just did whatever I could for my children. If that meant taking over a football club to make sure my daughters could play, that’s what I did.”
Angela Nichols, of Tenby AFC, was given a Lifetime Achievement Award after spending 37 consecutive seasons working at the West Wales club.
The ceremony was hosted by Capital FM radio DJ Polly James and was attended by football stars Giggs, Rush, Helen Ward, Jermaine Easter and Andy Legg, who all acknowledged the impact of the grassroots game on their careers.
Paul Inns, of Berriew FC, won the Grassroots Impact Award, Drefach FC’s Jason Thomas was named Community Coach of the Year, while Treharris Athletic’s Owain Lock won Young Volunteer of the Year.
FAW Trust CEO Neil Ward said: “I'm delighted these grassroots heroes have had their achievements acknowledged. They're the people who make grassroots football tick.
"It's fantastic to have legends like Ian Rush and Ryan Giggs supporting us. They acknowledge that they started their careers in the grassroots game.”
LIST OF WINNERS
People’s Award – Volunteer of the Year: Ashley Edwards, Rhosddu United
Young Volunteer of the Year: Owain Locke, Treharris Athletic
Community Club of the Year: Brickfield Rangers
Community Coach of the Year: Jason Thomas, Drefach FC
Mum of the Year: Julie Christopher, Llandrindod Wells FC
Lifetime Achievement Award: Angela Nichols, Tenby AFC
Grassroots Impact Award: Paul Inns, Berriew FC
Fun Football Provider of the Year: Porthmadog FC
Performance Development Coach of the Year: Andy Jones
Football Restaurant of the Year: McDonald’s Abergavenny