A football club secretary who also runs the tea hut, collects entrance fees, cleans the dressing rooms and looks after the referee has won a national award.
Tony Pratt from Rayners Lane FC in Harrow has been crowned 2020 Volunteer of the Year award in the FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards
The awards celebrate the efforts of volunteers across England who go the extra mile to support their local communities.
From a record number of entries in 2020, Tony joins a long list of inspirational grassroots football heroes recognised by the awards programme.
Sir Geoff Hurst, McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador and 1966 World Cup winner, said: “In a hugely challenging year for the whole country, it feels particularly important to recognise the dedication of volunteers who work tirelessly to have a positive impact on their local communities.
“I have been involved with the Grassroots Football Awards since the very beginning and the stories of the winners never fail to impress me.
“Tony should be extremely proud of his work and grassroots football in Harrow is in a much better place with him having been a part of it for the last 50 years.”
Tony has been a part of Rayners Lane FC for over 50 years, serving in several volunteer roles to help run the club.
As well as working as the club secretary, he is also responsible for running the club’s tea hut, collecting entrance fees, cleaning the dressing rooms and ensuring visiting match officials are looked after.
Tony was due to hang up his training top this year with a farewell party planned with his community, which was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic.
After five decades serving as an excellent volunteer for the club, Tony is the deserving winner of this year’s Volunteer of the Year award.
Tony will be presented with his award at an event at a later date.
Local McDonald’s franchisee Kurt Jansen, who is an avid supporter of grassroots football in Harrow, said: “It’s an honour to recognise the work of people like Tony within the grassroots football community in Harrow. Tony’s commitment and long term service to the grassroots game and local community is inspiring, and his story really highlights the difference volunteers can make.”
Having worked with The FA for the past 18 years, McDonald’s is the longest-standing supporter of grassroots football in the UK. Throughout this time, it has championed the work of volunteers who invest countless hours of time to deliver safe, enjoyable football to children and young adults regardless of age, gender or disability.
Last year McDonald’s also celebrated a milestone moment in the McDonald’s Fun Football Programme as it reached 2 million hours of Fun Football provided to children across the UK. McDonald’s is committed to its target of giving over 500,000 children the opportunity to play football for the first time and providing over 5 million hours of football to 5-11-year-olds by 2022.
To find out more about all of the 2020 FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Award winners, visit http://www.thefa.com/get-involved/grassroots-football-awards/winners