Thursday 15 March 2012

RAF veteran wins Barclays award

Colin Lee wins November award for his outstanding grassroots contribution

Mr Lee is hoping to establish a girls team by the start of next season

The oldest registered amateur football player in Northamptonshire has been presented the Barclays Community Sports Award for November for his outstanding contribution to grassroots football.

Colin Lee, 72, formed a Sunday league team with workmates after leaving the RAF in 1974.

He soon established a further three adult teams, complemented by three junior sides, all of whom train and play weekly at the Northampton Academy, as well as an RAF veterans team, for whom he still makes regular appearances.

"Funding is always an issue for us and the prize money will go a long way in providing kit and helping me expand our existing teams"
- Colin Lee

Mr Lee is also general secretary of all eight teams and is responsible for organising all training sessions and weekly matches for around 140 members.

And he hopes to establish a girls team, as well as a second veterans team, by next season.

Upon receiving the award and a cheque for £1,000 for his club, Mr Lee said: "I was so shocked and pleased when I heard I had won a Barclays Community Sports Award.

"Funding is always an issue for us and the prize money will go a long way in providing kit and helping me expand our existing teams. None of our teams would exist without the committee, managers and team coaches so I'd like to thank them for their continued support."

Former England international Gareth Southgate, a judge on the Barclays Community Sports Award panel, praised Mr Lee's valuable contribution over the past 30 years.

"It’s volunteers like Colin that keep grassroots sport thriving, and it's fantastic to hear about the many players across all generations playing weekly football thanks to Colin's hard work and dedication over three decade," said Southgate, the Football Association's head of elite development.

"We need people like Colin to continue his great work in his community over the coming years"
- Gareth Southgate

"We need people like Colin to continue his great work in his community over the coming years, and I would encourage people to nominate deserving candidates for the Barclays Community Sports Award so they to can share a bit of recognition for outstanding work that is being done up and down the country.”

The Barclays Community Sports Award is in its second year and is awarded each month throughout the football season to complement the Barclays Player and Manager of the Month awards.

The award aims to demonstrate the outstanding contributions to grassroots sports made by individuals up and down the country while those in the professional game are being recognised for their achievements.

Each monthly winner receives £1,000 for their group or organisation, a limited edition trophy and will be entered into an end-of-season award to win a further £5,000, all donated by Barclays Spaces for Sports.

The overall winner will also receive a VIP trip to London to receive their award from Southgate.

The Barclays Community Sports Award is delivered in partnership between Barclays Spaces for Sports, the Premier League's Creating Chances programme and the Football Foundation.

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Key Points

  • Colin Lee wins Barclays Community Sports Award
  • RAF veteran still playing football at the age of 72
  • Organises training sessions as general secretary