GRASSROOTS hero Chris Byrne picked up a special FA award from England’s 1966 World Cup hero Geoff Hurst before Sunday’s Community Shield at Wembley.
Hurst, who scored the most famous Wembley hat-trick of all time against West Germany as England lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy nearly forty years ago, was on hand to present the People’s Award to the 28-year-old for his outstanding contribution to community football.
Blackburn Rovers fan Byrne was recognised for his work with Ribble Valley based club Ribchester Rovers and lifted the prize ahead of seven other regional winners.
Byrne was inspirational in their development, re-launching the club after the senior team had folded, and his work with the club’s juniors.
In addition, he has hosted weekly training sessions and tournaments, helping the club grow to over 80 members.
Byrne, who also presented the man of the match prize to Olivier Giroud after Arsenal’s 3-0 win over last season’s Premier League champions Manchester City, said: “It was an incredible day, a once in a lifetime experience.
“I got to chat to Geoff Hurst about his career and that great day at Wembley when England won the World Cup.
“All my family came down to London, so we had a marvellous time. I’m very proud.
Ribchester Rovers are based at the recreational playing fields in the village and they have so far raised £22,000 towards improving their facilities.
Club secretary Tracy Ormisher said: “We desperately need to upgrade our facilities so that Ribchester can continue it’s proud footballing history.”