WHEN three dads set up a club to give six and seven years old a chance to play football, little did they know the success story that would unfold over the following two decades.

It was back in 1997 that Nigel Dixon, Neil Jones and Frank Blahuta set up Lammack Juniors Football Club with a group of children with a vision to do things the right way.

And today, as it celebrates it's 20th anniversary, the club continues to do things the right way and follow its motto of Involve Inspire Improve.

The three club founders spoke long and hard about setting up the club but it was in the new year of 1997, that those words became actions.

"We started talking about it just before Christmas but we started on January 9, 1997," said Dixon who took up the mantle of club chairman, a post he has just relinquished after 20 years at the helm.

"We had 16 lads which we thought, at the time, were too many at the start. But, afterwards, we sat down and had a beer and said how much we enjoyed it and decided to take it on and it all went from there."

Dixon, who was awarded an MBE for his services to sport in Blackburn in 2014, admits he did not expect the club to grow to the size it is now.

For the club, which rebranded as Blackburn Community Sports Club in 2006, now has 300 members on its books and 80 volunteer coaches.

It has a Saturday morning club for two to five-year-olds, boys teams from under sevens to under 18s and two ladies teams. The club also has a disability football section and offers sports such as rounders, badminton, archery and boccia.

"When we started, our intention was to give lads locally the chance to play football in a safe environment," said Dixon. "We never had any intentions to take it further.

"But we were fortunate to have good people around us who gave us that confidence and drive to take the club forward.

"We built up a great reputation, we tried to do everything right from the start and it just developed.

"And once you got in to it and you began to see the benefits that you are given back to the community then it became a bug really and you just want to carry on.

"We started up the disabled section and then brought in the other sports. It is just great to see children enjoying themselves and playing sport and everything else that comes with it.

Despite the success story, Dixon says none of it would have been possible had it not been for the hard work, dedication and commitment of club coaches, committee members, players, parents and families.

And Dixon underlined that fact by saying his MBE was on behalf of everyone involved in the club.

"It was a massive honour for me but I was only collecting it on behalf of everyone else," added Dixon who received the MBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. "This club would not run with one person, there was Frank and Neil from day one and everyone who is involved now and has been involved between those years as well.

"It's testament to everyone who has worked so hard over the 20 years to get such recognition. It's not about me, it is about everyone else who have given their spare time to volunteer to make Lammack the club it is."

The club has forged strong links with schools and clubs around them since day one.

In those early days, Old Blackburnians supported their new neighbours - allowing them to use pitches and clubhouse facilities - and it is a partnership that exists to this day with older Lammack player joining the senior ranks of the Old Blacks.

And it also has strong links with Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School and in 2011 they joined forces to open a £750,000 indoor facility which includes six changing rooms, viewing area, classroom and sensory room plus six grass pitches.

The club has been responsible for forging life long friendships - as Dixon put it "If it wasn't for the club, I wouldn't have any mates!"

And as a special club video produced to make the 20th anniversary says, sport can be a tool that brings people together - something club treasurer Debbie Riley agrees with.

"I have made some unbelievably strong friendships with this club, lifelong friendships and I will always be grateful for that," she said. "I have always said that this club has given me as much back as I have put in and that has been really imported to me."

Riley has been responsible for overseeing years of fund-raising both for the club while BCSC have raised more than £100,000 to support local and national charities

"We have done a lot of fund raising over the years, not just for the club and its facilities but for other organisations," added Riley who has been recognised, both locally and regionally for the work she has done.

"We have had groups of coaches who have done things like the Three Peaks, the Welsh 3,000, we have done bike rides over the years for various different charities."

While Dixon steps down from his role at the club, he is sure the club will continue to flourish and build on what the three dads set out to do in January 1997.

"The legacy will be what we did in those early days and the standards we set and all the efforts that we put in," he said.

"The club is known for its ethos that is all about development and not win at all costs and to us as a club that is and always will be important."

And as far as everyone connected with Blackburn Community Sports Club is concerned, it will continue to involve, inspire and improve.