Alan's lifetime of dedication is rewarded
Alan Williams, one of the pillars of the Norfolk football scene, has received a top national award.He had a royal appointment in London on Monday when he received the Torch Trophy from HRH the Duchess of Gloucester.
Alan Williams, one of the pillars of the Norfolk football scene, has received a top national award.
He had a royal appointment in London on Monday when he received the Torch Trophy from HRH the Duchess of Gloucester.
The award, for volunteeers who serve their sport with distinction, was the crowning glory of a lifetime's work in the beautiful game.
An emotional Alan, who was nominated by the FA, said: "Football has been my life and it has given me so much enjoyment. I'm honoured that the FA considered me worthy of such an award."
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Alan, 77, was a co-founder of the Norwich Sunday League 50 years ago and retired as its secretary after 28 years in June. He is a former class one referee and has served on the Norfolk County FA Council since 1975. He was county FA chairman from 1998-2001.
Alan was one of 16 figures from different sports at the ceremony at the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall. Several of the stars involved with the Torch Trophy Trust were present. England football legend Sir Bobby Charlton is the Trust president, while others involved include former British Lion Roger Uttley, former England cricket captain Mike Denness, Olympic gold-medal winning pentathlete Mary Peters and tennis star Christine Janes (Trueman).
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The event had an added bonus for Alan, a Manchester United fan, as he got the chance to speak to Sir Bobby Charlton. "He is one of my idols - one of the greatest and a real gentleman," he said.
Ray Kiddell, life vice- president of the FA, county FA president and Evening News Norwich Sunday League life president said: "It is an honour thoroughly deserved. Alan has served football with dedication and enthusiasm."
Norwich Sunday League chairman Paul Ballard added: "All connected with the league will be delighted that Alan has received this award and will want to thank him for his service."
Award-winners receive miniature replicas of an Olympic Torch used at the London Olympic Games in 1948.
Billy Ribbons (1986) and Don Hudson (2003) were previous winners for their services to football in Norfolk.