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Grassroots hero Steve Frost pays tribute to local sporting stars
STEVE Frost is a grassroots hero - and has received the Royal seal of approval!
The Wilpshire Wanderers Junior Football Club chairman had an appointment at Buckingham Palace where he received a specially commissioned medal from Prince William as part of the Football Association’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
But it is the mark of the man that, on the day of one of his greatest honours, he was quick to point out the work done by every other unsung hero - especially those at his own club.
“It was a fantastic day and a real honour to receive such a prestigious award,” said Frost who attended the ceremony with his wife Susan. “It is something I will remember and treasure for the rest of my life.
“While it was a great experience, I do recognise that there are thousands of other volunteers who make it possible for young people to enjoy their favourite sport.
“Even within my own club, Wilpshire Wanderers, there are a large number of truly dedicated volunteers and without their efforts I would not be receiving this award.
“So I feel like I was receiving the award on their behalf.”
Frost has helped Wanderers flourish in to one of the best run junior teams in East Lancashire since it was formed in 1996.
Wanderers currently has around 250 youngsters on its books aged from four to 16-year-old - either playing in one of the club’s 19 teams or taking part in weekly training sessions for the younger players.
The club has forged strong links with St Augustine’s High School - where it’s older players play a number of its games – while Wanderers’ Salesbury Memorial Hall-base boasts some of the best facilities around thanks to having raised money through local businesses, sponsorship and initiatives Frost has been instrumental in helping the club achieve FA Charter Standard status while his other roles at the club include everything from putting out the parking cones to working in the club’s tea room.
He can regularly be found at the Ribchester Road club from as early as 7.30am on a match day morning making sure everything in ready for the fixtures that follow – including getting the refreshments ready.
It is that dedication that saw him win a regional award in The FA Community Awards presented by McDonalds last year.
Frost was the North West’s winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Community Football, receiving his award from England legend Geoff Hurst at last year’s Charity Shield at Villa Park.
He was also shortlisted for the national prize and attended an awards ceremony before England’s World Cup qualifier against San Marino at Wembley last October.
But from football royalty in World Cup winner Hurst to the real deal and Prince William.
The Prince address and thanked all of the winners who then went on to watch Civil Service FC and Polytechnic FC, playing in a Southern Amateur League match, on the lawns at the Palace.
“Prince William was superb,” said Frost. “He addressed us all and thanked us for our hard work and then warned the players not to break his grandmother’s windows!”
The event was held in the Palace ball room where Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler announced all of the winners, the medals were presented by FA chief executive Greg Dyke and Prince William was on hand to say a welcome word or two.
“We all left the ball room and gathered in the hallway and Martin called us in one by one,” recalls Frost. “Greg Dyke gave us our medal and Prince William was by his side and said to me ‘thank you, Steve’ “It was a lovely touch as he did that for all of us. He didn’t have to address us by our name but he did and it made it all the more special. To have him thank us for our efforts was truly an honour and then to see the first ever game played within the Palace grounds made it really special - just a fantastic and memorable occasion.”
Frost said even the expense of accommodation and new outfits for the trip was a small price to pay.
“It cost a small fortune,” he joked.
“Obviously, myself and Susan had to look smart for the occasion and we decided to stay down in London for a couple of days to mark the occasion.”
Frost rounded off the day by enjoying afternoon tea on the lawn while watching that first ever match to be held at the Palace.
While it was the ultimate honour for Frost – something he will always treasure – he knows his real place is making the bacon butties on a match day morning!
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