Rocks stalwart pitches in for an invite from Duke of Cambridge

Brian Quinnell receives the groundsman of the year trophy at a recent game   Picture by Kate Shemilt.C131189-1
Brian Quinnell receives the groundsman of the year trophy at a recent game Picture by Kate Shemilt.C131189-1
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ROCKS stalwart Brian Quinnell is to be honoured at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Duke of Cambridge to recognise voluntary work in grass-roots football.

Quinnell will be one of 150 volunteers celebrated on October 7 at an event that forms part of the Football Association’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The volunteers have all been chosen for their outstanding contribution and service to football – which includes everything from helping to develop the women’s game, providing opportunities for disabled players, grass-roots referees as well as club and league administrators.

Quinnell has been given the award because he is a key man in the team who won the Rocks a Ryman League groundsman of the year trophy.

The Duke of Cambridge, in his capacity as president of the FA, will host the event and will present Quinnell with a medal.

The event has been created to champion the huge role volunteers play in football on a weekly basis. The nationwide network of grassroots heroes totals more than 400,000 individuals – this includes everyone from the mums and dads, coaches, referees and administrators that give up their time to provide.

A focal point of the day will see the Buckingham Palace garden host its first-ever football match, featuring two of the oldest amateur clubs in England. The game, which will be an official Southern Amateur League fixture, will be played between Civil Service FC, the sole surviving club from the 11 that met to create the FA in 1863, and Polytechnic FC, which was formed in 1875.

The Duke of Cambridge said: “In our 150th year, it is hugely important for the FA to honour the efforts of the many thousands of volunteers who week in, week out, help to provide the opportunity for millions more people to enjoy football at grassroots level. Inviting 150 of these volunteers to Buckingham Palace provides a fitting way for the FA to pay tribute and give thanks.”

Greg Dyke, Chairman of the FA, said: “These volunteers are the heartbeat of football. Without them, the game simply wouldn’t function at a grassroots level and it is only right that the FA honours their tireless and selfless work.

“We are delighted that, in his role as president of the FA, HRH The Duke of Cambridge has given his support to this initiative – even going as far as arranging for the first-ever game of football to be played at Buckingham Palace in honour of our grass-roots heroes.”

To learn more about the FA’s work at a grassroots level of the game or for information about how to get involved in volunteering, visit theFA.com/TakePart