Raiders are honoured with a top award at glitzy Wembley ceremony

Berkhamsted Raiders' Keith Pollard and Paul Russell received their award from Liverpool legend Didi Hamann. Photo (c) Justin Setterfield - The FA
Berkhamsted Raiders' Keith Pollard and Paul Russell received their award from Liverpool legend Didi Hamann. Photo (c) Justin Setterfield - The FA
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Berkhamsted Raiders headed to Wembley Stadium on Sunday for the 2014 FA Community Awards after being named winners of the prestigious FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year Award.

Now in their fifth year, The FA and McDonald’s Community Awards recognise and celebrate volunteers, coaches, clubs and leagues across England whose hard work is vital to keeping grassroots football alive in their local community.

Since 1996, Berkhamsted Raiders have grown in size to now provide football for 700 young players in the area, with children of all ages and abilities welcome at the club.

The club’s voluntary needs are met by a talented group of coaches and referees, who are encouraged to take coaching qualifications and participate in running the club.

Raiders work closely with schools in the local area as well as the parish council to ensure sports facilities in the area are well maintained and looked after.

Above all, what’s most evident is the club’s commitment to enjoyment and participation for all.

On Sunday, Raiders representatives Keith Pollard and Paul Russell collected the national award in front of football legends including Sir Geoff Hurst and Pat Jennings, ahead of the FA Community Shield match between Manchester City and Arsenal.

At half-time, Keith and Ian Sayle then joined World Cup winner Sir Geoff on the pitch in front of the 90,000-strong capacity crowd.

Thousands of nominations were received across the nation for this year’s FA and McDonald’s Community Awards.

Grassroots football volunteers were recognised at county and regional level, before culminating in the national ceremony at the curtain raiser for this year’s football season.

McDonald’s director of football, Sir Geoff, was part of the national judging panel.

He said: “Berkhamsted Raiders embodies the spirit of a grassroots football club.

“The vast number of hours and the dedication coaches and volunteers at the club have shown is incredible and they deserve this award tremendously.

“It is clubs like Berkhamsted Raiders CFC at a grassroots level, that our national game relies upon week in week out.

“Without their commitment, young footballers in this country couldn’t continue to grow and flourish.

“It was a pleasure to meet Berkhamsted Raiders on Sunday to give them my congratulations on winning the award!”

Over the next four years, McDonalds will be working with The FA and their official kit supplier to give away brand new kits to every accredited club with a youth team across England.

To find out more, please visit www.mcdonalds.co.uk/betterplay