Lancashire FA hosted 2023’s 50 Year Long Service Awards last weekend at the County Ground where we were honoured to host some incredible volunteers from across the county.
With an accumulative 1000 years’ service, our dedicated volunteers were awarded a medal, pin badge and personalised letter from the Football Association.
After enjoying the Lancashire delicacies of hot pot and apple pie, they were treated to a Q&A session with CEO Simon Gerrard and former Blackpool, PNE & Wigan Athletic and current Workforce Manager at Lancashire FA Colin Greenall.
Steve Jackson, the heart and soul of FC Rangers who once personally paid for one young man to take his referee course so he could qualify when his family were struggling to pay for it, was awarded his 30 Year Long Service Award.
After playing for Hesketh Bank and Tarleton Corinthians since the age of 14, Paul Sergeant joined the committee at just 18 and has built a thriving club which now has 14 junior teams and won the coveted Lancashire Amateur Shield in its centenary season, celebrated his half a century of volunteering.
It was only when he was 62 years old when Warren Trennery decided to hang up his boots after playing since the age of 13 for Gallagher Boys in Oldham. Over the years, he earned his UEFA B coaching badge, coaching various teams. Currently, he assists in coaching Rochdale AFC Military Veterans and Get Together After Serving CIC alongside his son Adam, as well as recently taking up competitive masters rugby.
Alan Greenhalgh became involved at the age of 18 in season 1973/74 where he was Secretary & Manager of Douglas Park Rangers playing in the 7-a-side league, before changing their name to Pear Tree FC. He also started refereeing in 1988 for 18 years until injury forced him to retire, but thankfully not from football. In 2008 he was elected to The Lancashire FA Council where he served the Wigan area for 14 years.
Our next winner was the first secretary of the Wigan & District 7-a-side league back in 1973, a position she held for 11 years until the league became The South Lancs Counties Football League in 1986 where she served as Assistant Sec for 22 years before joining The North west Youth Alliance in the same position, a role which Linda Greenhalgh held until last year.
Moston Brook FC have been graced with Mike Melia since the start of the 1972/73 season, making 791 appearances for the club. He has for the past 5 years been the Chairman of the club. He previously held the position of Club Secretary a post he held for 27 years. He is currently the club’s assistant secretary looking after the clubs Open Age Teams. He was awarded with the ‘Northwest Coach of the Year’ in 2015 and represented the region in the ‘National Final’ at ‘St Georges Park’. He still represents the club playing walking football for both their Over 60 and 65’s teams.
Charlie Macmillan has now been the Club Treasurer on two occasions at Moston Brook and is currently in his 42nd year in the role. He started the junior section of Moston Brook back in 1989 starting with two teams one at Under 10 and the other at Under 14. In 2019 having played walking football with fellow retirees for 18 months he set up the clubs walking football section entering teams in the Greater Manchester Walking Football League with teams at Over 60, 65 and 70.
The last of the Moston Brook trio is a founder member of the club from 1969 joining them upon leaving school. David Kinder has been the club’s Open Age records secretary for 53 years & has also served on the Clubs Committee as Chairman (2007-8) & was Club Secretary on (2) occasions covering a period of (6) seasons & has played an active part in the club’s social scene over many years. He now plays for the Over 70’s in the Greater Manchester Walking Football League & has appeared for the club on 94 occasions scoring 7 Goals.
For over 50 Years this woman has been an integral part of the club’s history. She is described as a smiling face that welcomes the crowd in on a Saturday and Tuesday. Sandra Nicholson has always been there with a smile throughout the years, normally one of the first faces you'll see upon arrival or on hand in the stands to attend to any urgent situations.
Staying with Radcliffe FC, along with his wife, Alex Nicholson has served the club in all manner of roles, not limited to matchday and repairs of the ground, but part of the founding of the Supporters Club. Without their involvement the club would not be enjoying the successes of the last 5 years including several promotion pushes.
Barbara Knagg first ventured into football in the mid 1960’s initially on the touchline watching youth football. In the 80’s she helped transport Vickers Sports Club U16 lads to and from matches and supported the team before eventually, in 1993 becoming secretary of Vickers Sports Senior football section, a position she held until 2007. During this time she also washed all the kits for 3 teams and provided after match refreshments. she was secretary of Barrow Junior girls football League for a season and at the same time joined the Furness District FA becoming secretary, a post which she held until it folded last season.
Like many young kids growing up Phil Caines played football at every opportunity. Whether it was the back streets of Nelson or the bare grass on the Hard Platts in Brierfield. When Phil started work as an apprentice butcher he got his friends together and formed a new team to play in the local league. Hibson Rangers were formed. Phil used to mark the pitch out using saw dust in his dinner hour. A task not to be under-estimated at a windy Ringstone Crescent. Once Phil finally retired from manging pubs and football teams his love of the game meant he needed to stay involved and he in 2014 he was elected as Chairman of The Pendle Charity Sunday League, a post he still holds today.
Our last award winner is given his accolade posthumously. Derek Heighway joined Chorley Referees Society in the early 1970s and gradually worked his way up through the refereeing ranks. He quickly became a stalwart member of Chorley Referees but also served on the committee of the Chorley Sunday League as well as being a lifelong supporter of Chorley Football Club. He became a DBS verifier for the county FA and in 2022 received the David Hodgkinson Memorial Shield for his services to the society. He was also a keen supporter of the women’s game following Chorley Women whenever had time. Very sadly, Derek Heighway passed away late last year. Fortunately, we were able to get his medal to him before he faced his final whistle.
Thank you for your dedicated service over the past 50 Years.