Grassroots Heroes Shine At LRCFA Recognition Awards 2024

Over 200 passionate members of the grassroots football community gathered to celebrate Leicestershire and Rutland's Grassroot heroes.

The Leicestershire and Rutland County FA (LRCFA) held its annual Recognition Awards on Thursday, 27th June, at the King Power Stadium.

Over 200 passionate members of the grassroots football community gathered to celebrate the evening, from coaches, referees, and club officials to groundsmen, league officials and life members of the County FA.

Sophie Howard, Leanne Woodhead-Groves and John Brooks


 The event recognised 17 individuals for their outstanding contributions:

  • 12 Grassroots Awards Winners: These awards honoured volunteers who go above and beyond to support the sport at the local level.
  • 3 Special Recognition Awards (Sponsored by Marsh): These awards highlighted exceptional achievements within the LRCFA community.
  • 2 Long Service Award Winners (Sponsored by Marsh): These awards acknowledged individuals who have dedicated significant portions of their lives to grassroots football across the counties.

This special evening served as a platform to showcase the dedication and hard work of volunteers who make a vital impact in Leicestershire and Rutland's grassroots football community.

Hosted by LRCFA Head of Football Services, Jamie Clarke, the awards ceremony included:

  • A delicious three-course meal, providing a chance for guests to relax and connect with fellow members of the Leicestershire and Rutland football community.
  • Special Guests: Leicester City Women and Scotland International Sophie Howard, along with Premier League referee John Brooks, shared insights into their careers during a Q&A session hosted by FA Regional Network Manager, Leanne Woodhead-Groves.
  • A photo opportunity with the EFL Championship Trophy: A memorable moment for all attendees to capture the night's celebration.
  • Silent Auction for three signed tops from our special guests: This raised £280 for Menphys, a Leicestershire charity for children and young people living with disabilities.


The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the prestigious Gerry Cooper Award, which recognises exceptional contributions to the LRCFA. This year, the award was presented to Ray Barton, who had recently celebrated his remarkable 100th birthday. As Ray received the award, the room erupted into a heartfelt standing ovation, honouring his decades of outstanding service to the Association. 

To be able to deliver the Recognition Awards for 2024, LRCFA would like to thank MDH Teamwear and Trophies for producing our awards, and a big thank you to Marsh, Roberts Travel Group, Everyone Active, and Westerby Group who were able to join us for this celebration.

Joe Dunmore, CEO of Leicestershire and Rutland County FA expressed his gratitude. He said: “The 2024 Recognition Awards was a fantastic celebration of the incredible grassroots football volunteers we have in the game.’’

“We are immensely grateful to all the winners, the nominators, and everyone who continually raises the bar of excellence in our county. Their dedication is what makes Leicestershire and Rutland a strong and thriving community for grassroots football.” 

View the full list of winners below.

Long Service Awards




10 Years Secretary

Andrew Miller

Loughborough Foxes Women's and Girls FC

FA 50 Years Service to Football

Gordon Wells


Special Recognition Awards




Special Recognition

Paul Gibson

AFC Andrews

Ivor Finn Award

Wayne McDermott

Coalville Town Youth FC

Gerry Cooper Award

Ray Barton



Grassroots Awards – Click each name to see their winning video.




Grounds Team of the Year

Solomon Paul

Highfield Rangers

New Volunteer of the Year

Mollie Jowett

Marlborough Rovers

Young Volunteer of the Year

Finn Chaplin

LRCFA Young Leaders

Coach of the Year – Disability Pathway

Lone Hansen

Asfordby Amateurs Ladies, Girls & Inclusive FC

Coach of the Year - Female Pathway

Ria Malyon-Duncan

Cosby United Youth and Juniors FC

Coach of the Year – Male Pathway

Rakesh Verma

Glenfield United FC

Match Official of the Year Award

Terry Simmons

Ellistown FC

Lioness Award

Hivi Fettah

Oadby Owls FC

Keeping Football Positive Award

Leoni Fielding

Coalville Town FC

Bobby Moore Award

Chris Mayes

Thurlaston Juniors Football Club

League of the Year

Leicestershire Adult Inclusive Football League


Club of the Year

AFC Barwell



View all the pictures from the Recognition Awards here

Photo gallery

View the winners from the 2024 Leicestershire and Rutland County FA Recognition Awards.