Proudly sponsored by McDonalds, the annual awards evening is our opportunity to honour the unsung heroes across Devon, who make a genuine difference in grassroots football, as they work tirelessly to increase participation and provide everyone with access to the beautiful game.
Hosted by Devon broadcaster David Fitzgerald, the evening celebrated the officials, coaches, administrators, referees and volunteers across our County, the people who make grassroots football very special to so many people.
A particular highlight from a fantastic ceremony was the recognition of huge growth in the provision of women’s football in Devon and we were delighted to present the audience with our #belike series, a selection of five videos showcasing the terrific work and progress being made by female footballers, coaches and officials in Devon.
The first award of the evening was the Supporter of the Year, won by Corina Daymond (pictured below) from Bere Alston United Youth Football Club: “Around 18 months ago, my husband asked me to set up a football club in our village, which we did. The club is run with five other people and we are delighted to be recognised at the awards in our first full season.”
It was then time to reward Neil Jones and Chris Evans for their fantastic service over 40 Years of refereeing in Devon: “I’ve been a referee for 40 years and thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Chris. “Hopefully, I can carry on for a few more years.” Neil added: “I’ve had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the refereeing journey.”Our Throgmorton Referee Developer of the Year was Eddie Green, (pictured below) who said: “I don’t know why it was me because there are so many people in the County who have a passion for training and encouraging all referees.”
The Grounds Person of the Year went to Richard Organ (pictured below) from Stoke Gabriel Football Club: “I’m very proud to have won and an honour to be involved in grassroots football,” said Richard.
We next awarded the Match Official of the Year to Alan Turner (pictured below): “I am absolutely over the moon to have won and thanks to everyone who voted for me, and all the people who have given me advice along the way,” said Alan.
Our grassroots League of the Year was won by the Macron Devon & Exeter League, and they were represented at the ceremony by their General Secretary Neil Anthony (pictured below). The grassroots Club of the Year prize went to Barnstaple Ability Football Club.
We then moved on to George Tossell, (pictured below) winner of the Volunteer of the Year award: “I run Fremington Youth Football Club, associated with Fremington FC,” said George. “We currently have 180 children [at the club], two men’s team and one ladies team, and we’re building all the time.”
The Project of the Year was awarded to Brixington Blues Football Club, (pictured below) who were represented at the ceremony by Paul Cameron: “I run the youth disability team, an inclusive team in Exmouth providing opportunities for people who may not be able to get into a mainstream football club,” said Paul.
Our Devon FA Rising Star was young coach Cody Levell and the Throgmorton Young Referee of the Year was Bailey Walker, (pictured below) who was presented with the Duncan Underhill Trophy in memory of a very special referee in our region: “I am really proud to win this award and grateful for the support I have had in my journey so far,” said Bailey.
The Throgmorton Referee of the Year was Stuart Ash (pictured below): “I would like to thank my peers in the refereeing community,” said Stuart.
The penultimate award of the evening was for Coach of the Year and won by Sean Hartrey (pictured below) from Crediton Girls Youth Football Club: “We have around 100 girls playing at Crediton from the age of five through to 18 and I’m proud to play a part in making all that function,” said Sean.
The final prize was the Steve Betts Memorial Trophy and awarded to Chris Smietanka (pictured below) for his many years of dedicated service to grassroots football in Devon.
Congratulations to all our winners and a thank-you from all of us at Devon FA to everyone involved in grassroots football.