Newcastle United Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner, sponsored by First Class Supply, took place at St James’ Park last night with Newcastle United Manager Rafa Benitez and senior players in attendance to celebrate the achievements of black and white heroes supported by the Charity.
Over 400 supporters from the business community spent the evening celebrating the individuals whose lives have changed significantly through support and guidance from the Foundation.
In addition to the participant awards Newcastle United legends Pavel Srnicek and Steve Harper were inducted into the Newcastle United Foundation Hall of Fame.
Rafa Benitez presented the Alder Sweeney Award, in memory of Newcastle United fans Liam Sweeney and John Alder; Magpies supporters who tragically lost their lives in the MH17 disaster, to Foundation Disability Football Development Officer Reggie Dornan, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to grassroots football. Reggie currently works with 1300 children and adults each year coaching Disability teams including, Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Visually Impaired, Amputee, Frame and Power Chair.
Garry Wells was presented with the Young Learner Award, sponsored by First Class Supply, in recognition of his outstanding hard work and commitment to the Foundation’s Five-a-Side programme where he studied towards an ASDAN qualification at Moorbridge Pupil Referral Unit.
Newcastle United Captain Jamaal Lascelles and Goal Keeper Karl Darlow presented Rhys Stephenson with the Adult Learner accolade in recognition of his passion and dedication to securing employment through Talent Match and subsequent commitment to volunteering at the charity’s Kicks programme every Friday night.
Twins Courtney and Nicole Dack each received a Young Leader Award from Head of Newcastle United Foundation Kate Bradley and recently appointed Chair of Trustees John Marshall. The twins rise through the Kicks programme from participants representing the Foundation regionally, nationally and internationally, to volunteer coaches and sessional staff demonstrated their commitment to being positive role models within their community.
Foundation Patron Shola Ameobi presented the charity’s Power Chair Team with the Team of the Year accolade after they won the Division One title – a big leap from not having won a game in either of their first two seasons!
Tony Brown, who initially started his route to fitness by signing up to Eurofit, now keeps active by playing Walking Football and was recipient of the Health and Wellbeing Award, supported by Your Homes Newcastle.
The Foundation named two Rising Stars during the ceremony – Jake Durrant and Codie Nichols. Jake started playing football on a Foundation Soccer School and went onto play in the charity’s Advanced set up. He has now been signed for the NUFC Under 9’s Academy squad. Codie, age 17, started playing football with the Foundation aged eight and this summer became their first ever female Apprentice Community Coach.
The Disability Player of the Year was won by Jamie Foster, who only started playing football four years ago. Before that he had little interest in sport and was clinically obese. After meeting Disability Coach Reggie Dornan a passion for football was ignited. He has worked incredibly hard to develop his skills and is now on the FA’s England Player Pathway.
The evening also saw Susan Justice of Bidvest Foodservice announced as Foundation Champion after almost nine years as a passionate and devoted supporter of the Charity.
Newcastle United Manager Rafa Benitez commented: “It has been wonderful celebrating the achievements of the Award winners tonight. The work the Foundation does is so important and I’m proud to support them.”
Kate Bradley, Head of Newcastle United Foundation, added: “I’d like to congratulate all of the award winners tonight – we have loved working with you and we’re looking forward to seeing how much further we can help you progress and achieve your dreams.
“I would like to thank Rafa and the team for their support tonight and the businesses that sponsored awards, donated prizes or bought a table – the money we raise tonight will go towards helping people in our community who need it most.
“A special thank you to long standing Foundation Partners, First Class Supply for sponsoring tonight’s event, and for their valued and continued support over the years.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the Foundation staff and volunteers who work incredibly hard in the community every single day. Their dedication, enthusiasm and passion is the reason our award winner have been able to reach their goals.”