The local heroes of the Central region were recently recognised thanks to the 2014 Scottish FA Grassroots Awards, presented by McDonald’s.

For over a decade the Scottish FA Grassroots Awards have recognised and celebrated the young players, volunteers and clubs across the six Scottish FA Regions who dedicate their time to grassroots football in their local community.

Disability Football Volunteer winner Ian McGurk has been a dedicated teacher within Firpark School for a number of years, as a keen supporter of the Scottish FA School League programme, he has worked tirelessly to ensure the children within the school have the opportunity to take part in football events.

Ian takes a great deal of personal attention towards the children within his care to ensure that the players gain the maximum enjoyment for the sport as well as learning the lessons in which football brings to ensure that the players can have the best start when leaving the school environment.  Ian takes his duty as a teacher to the next level with ensuring players selected to attend the Learning Disability National Squad are able to attend every event and competition by taking time out of his free time to arrange transport for the players to and from training. This level of commitment to the students is rarely seen and Ian should be rewarded for his commitment not only to his students but to football.

Girls and Women's Volunteer award winner Lesley Staniard has been involved with the Girls Academy at Wishaw Wycombe Wanderers since they were first established in 2013. In just under a year and a half the club has completely taken off and now boasts 50 young girls aged between five and 13 years old playing across three different age groups.

Alongside her role coaching the teams Lesley handles all the club’s paperwork including the finance and sponsorship deals as well as managing a team of coaches, all whilst working full time and looking after her family. Lesley’s work with the club and its teams is invaluable and without her the club simply wouldn’t function.

Vinnie Coyle, who has won the Adult Volunteer award winner,  founded Braehead FC in Stirling and for the last 22 years has been reposinsible for the club’s development, ensuring the club progresses positively and continues to deliver top quality football to the local community. During his time at the club he has held a variety of positions from coaching teams to arranging training venues. The club recent success including winning the Welfare Scottish Cup wouldn’t have been possible without Vinnie. He is constantly looking at ways to improve all aspects of Braehead FC and the football that the club offers to the local community.

David Eccles has been involved in school football in the area for over 20 years. For the past 12 years has been President of Forth Valley Schools Football Association holds a seat on the Scottish Schools Football Association Council all the while holding his position as Scottish Schools Football Association goalkeeper coach. David has he dedicated a large chunk of his life to schools football but outside school hours he also coaches for the Stirling Albion FC youth development programme. He has had a major role in the development of numerous goalkeepers in the local area and has supported hundreds of other players at local and national level for over two decades. 

Davy Reynolds, the Youth Football award winner, has tirelessly served football in Tullibody for decades. He devotes all of his time to ensuring that hundreds of kids get their chance to have fun and enjoy the benefits of playing the game.  In his voluntary role as Football Development Officer Davy now runs the Tullibody Community FC at all levels.  Membership numbers over and above the community teams have increased with the successful introduction of a girls and womens section, disability section, mini kickers section, over 35's section and a futsal programme to ensure that there is a provision for everyone in the local community.

He has worked with the Scottish FA to get the club to Quality Mark Community status and has worked hard to progress the club to the Legacy level. Davy dedicates over 20 hours a week into organising teams, lining and cutting pitches, promoting and representing the club and coaching different teams and school programmes. He deserves huge recognition for the part he plays in grassroots football as without him Tullibody Community FC simply wouldn’t exist.

As a winner of a regional Scottish FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Award, they are now in with the chance of winning the national accolade selected by a judging panel of Scottish FA representatives.

The National Awards will be presented to winners at a prestigious ceremony, attended by legends of the game including McDonald’s Head of Scottish Football Kenny Dalglish, held at Hampden Park on September 25th.

McDonald’s Head of Scottish Football, Kenny Dalglish, said: “The Scottish FA and McDonald’s grassroots awards recognise and celebrate the hard work of hundreds of grassroots volunteers across Scotland. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the game, they dedicate countless hours to ensure young players have an opportunity to play and, importantly, enjoy football. It is important that we say thank you to the volunteers and clubs who ensure that grassroots football progresses. I would like to personally thank all of them for their hard work and congratulate them on winning a regional award.”

To find out more about the Scottish FA Grassroots Awards presented by McDonald’s and The Sunday Mail, log on to www.mcdonalds.co.uk/awards and follow @2014Grassroots.