Preston North End’s Stadium Facilities Manager Paul Bradley has been acknowledged with an FA award from HRH The Duke Of Cambridge.
At a special event held at Buckingham Palace, Paul was one of ten fans and unsung heroes who attended the ceremony to be rewarded for their outstanding contribution and services to football.
Paul, affectionately known as ‘Braders’ in and around the Club, was joined by Jeff Hall (Chesterfield), Stanley McGowen (Bury FC), Paul Samrah (Brighton and Hove Albion), Warner Duff (Ipswich Town), Sue Pollard (Plymouth Argyle), Neil Le Milliere (Exeter City), Kevin Monks (Coventry City), Jim Thompson (Burnley) and Billy Neil (Millwall) who were among 150 people celebrated on Monday at an event that forms part of The Football Association’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
The ten were chosen for their outstanding contribution and service to football, with them being selected on the basis of having previously won the ‘Fan of the Year’ or ‘Unsung Hero’ award at the annual Football League Awards.
HRH The Duke of Cambridge, in his official capacity as President of The Football Association, hosted the event and presented The Football League winners with medals to commemorate their achievements.
In its 125th year, Football League Chairman Greg Clarke and Chief Executive Shaun Harvey were among the specially invited guests to see the presentation.
The event was created to champion the huge role that 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 saw the Buckingham Palace garden host its first ever football match, featuring two of the oldest amateur clubs in England - Civil Service FC, the sole surviving club from the eleven that met to create The FA in 1863, and Polytechnic FC.
Speaking of the event, HRH 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.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Dyke who added: “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 grassroots heroes.”
Paul began working at Deepdale 11 years ago, when he turned up unannounced offering his services to do anything – a job role which he still continues to fulfil even when he has faced health problems.
The engineer to trade, received a medal from HRH The Duke of Cambridge and will have a lifetime full of memories stored away from the memorable occasion.
Everyone at Preston North End would like to congratulate Paul on his fantastic achievement…however he will not be known as Sir Bradley despite his best efforts to convince all staff at the Club that he should be!
Well done Braders!