For the second year in succession, Chris Maxwell has been awarded Preston North End's PFA Player in the Community for his work in the community during the 2017 calendar year.
The PNE shot stopper clinched the award for his ‘outstanding’ interaction during his visits into the community as well as his positive and proactive stance towards community work.
On the award, Maxwell said: “I’m delighted and very happy to be chosen. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my work around the community.
“I think it’s important and it’s something that needs to be continued. We as players can’t do enough in the community - from going into schools to coming along to walking football sessions. It’s what keeps the community and club altogether and I think that’s beneficial for everybody.
Maxwell has played his part during a year which saw the Trust nominated once again at the North West Football Awards, highlighted for best practice for their Primary Stars and National Citizen Service Programme, and also playing its part in putting the Dick Kerr Ladies football team in the spotlight with a blue plaque and a permanent monument erected in their honour.
“As the club keeps growing and moves on to the next level, everything else should move it with it,” continued Maxwell on the progress being made on and off the pitch at the club.
“There are teachers and parents who try to set a good example for them but as we all know as children, you don’t necessarily want to listen to your teachers and parents for whatever reason, but I think as footballers who children look up to, we have got a responsibility to show them that path as well.
“Even if you go into a classroom and talk to the kids for five minutes and one of them comes out thinking differently then it’s a job well done and it’s something that I aim to continue and it’s something that the club wants to continue.”
As well as school visits, Maxwell has been a regular attendee of PNE’s family bingo and visited various community events making a direct impact on over 700 members of the community, but it’s one visit in particular that sticks out for the Welshman which was during the club’s annual Whites Christmas campaign.
“One of my favourite visits last year saw us visits some fans at their homes,” he explained. “There were a couple of cancer patients who were thankfully coming through the worst of it and getting back to full health again which was fantastic to see.
“To sit down with these genuine PNE supporters who were both in their 50s and 60s and hearing them talk about the club and their experiences and what they’ve been through as a family - it was a real eye opener.
“For me, I don’t think about it but I get told that I’ve made his Christmas etc, and even if that is the case, it’s helping in any way you can and it does give you a feel good factor and it’s beneficial to everybody.”
On the award, Head of Community at the PNE Community and Education Trust Andy Haythornthwaite said: “The PFA Player in the Community Award recognises the endeavour and hard work footballers have put in off the pitch, and we were keen to ensure Chris’ excellent work in the community does not go unnoticed.
“We have an excellent squad here at Preston North End who recognise their role in the community, however, this year Chris has gone above and beyond his role within the community and has been an excellent ambassador for the Trust.”
Maxwell added: “It’s setting a good example - there’s so many kids who want to be footballers and you have to be aware of that and be conscious of doing the right thing.
“These days, it’s massive with social media and how much the game is televised and in the media - you have to be setting a good example on the pitch and ultimately off the pitch as well. That involves going into schools, soccer camps and special individual things like going to the Children’s Ward of Royal Preston Hospital.
“It’s excellent for everybody and very important.”