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October 24, 2013
On Monday 7th October, local volunteer Jim Hunter attended an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace, where he was rewarded for his outstanding service and contribution to grassroots football.
The awards were part of The FA 150th Anniversary, and rewarded 150 grassroots volunteers who have made a significant contribution to the development of grassroots football within the Country.
When asked for an account of the day, Jim described the following experience:
Jim and his wife Diane arrived at Buckingham Palace for 10.00am, where they were taken through the security process. Once completed, we were then escorted into the Palace and through the courtyard, where we were split into two different groups of award winners and guests.
At approximately 10.40am, all award winners and guests were taken into the Palace ballroom to be seated, where Clive Tyldsley from ITV Sport introduced himself as the host for the day. Clive then introduced Greg Dyke, Chairman of The Football Association, where Greg made a welcome speech to all guests. Greg introduced HRH Prince William who talked very passionately about grassroots football ,and thanked everyone for their voluntary commitments to the national game.
Prince William explained about the game taking place in the afternoon as the first ever football match to be held at Buckingham Palace, and joked that if anyone broke a window then they would have his Grandmother to deal with.
One by one, we were presented with a medal and certificate by Greg Dyke and HRH Prince William. After the presentation we attended a buffet lunch where we got to talk with fellow award winners about their reasons for being rewarded. Jim went on to describe how it was great to see so many volunteers from across the Country all from different backgrounds, yet all united through grassroots football.
At 1.30pm the match out on the lawn of Buckingham Palace kicked off with Howard Webb as the referee in charge of the fixture. During the half time interval, The FA Tesco Skills Team set up a coaching session which Prince William and Michael Owen joined in. This session was an example of the type of sessions that the skills teams are delivering to children across the Country every day as part of The FA Tesco Skills Programme.
We shortly departed after the final whistle…
When asked if Jim could describe the day he said: “It was an absolutely fantastic day, a once in a life time opportunity and for that I feel extremely honoured”.
Cumberland FA, would like to once again extend their congratulations to Jim and his family on such a momentous achievement, and hope that people take inspiration from the work that has gone into receiving such an award.