Michael Smalley, a long-serving volunteer from Loughborough has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to partially sighted football in the local community.
Michael received his award at the Torch Trophy Trust Awards ceremony at the Royal Army and Navy Club in London. Presented by HRH the Prince of Kent, he was among twenty volunteers honoured for their dedication to sport.
The awards are unique in acknowledging the importance of volunteers in sport, a role which often goes unnoticed. The Trust exists to encourage, reward and recognise the three million people in the UK who devote their spare time to volunteer in sport, in their local community and provide more opportunities to get people active. At the heart of the Trust’s ethos is legacy – founded in 1962 and with the 1948 Olympic torch used as its symbol – the awards have recognised volunteers for over 53 years.
Described as a quiet and unassuming man, Michael’s impact on partially sighted football over the past 20 years is immeasurable. He began managing the Loughborough Lions Partially Sighted 5-a-side football squad in the early 1990’s. Under his reign, the team has experienced huge success, including winning the 1st division 10 times, winning over five cup competitions and seeing players moving on to represent their country as partially Sighted Futsal players, including Steve Daily who is the current England captain. He also volunteers as a Treasurer of the Partially Sighted Football League, effectively helping the league on many levels.
During this time, he has travelled to Spain to qualify as a referee of partially sighted football so he could extend his voluntary work and share knowledge back home.
Having retired from his day job in 2014, Michael still remains as committed to the Loughborough Lions squad as ever, always demonstrating the same amount of passion and enthusiasm.
Sir Bobby Charlton, Chairman of the Torch Trophy Trust commented:
“It is hugely important to honour the incredible volunteers that make sport happen in our nation. Without their passion and generosity, we would see participation numbers fall. We are delighted to recognise and highlight the fantastic worked achieved by these volunteers, who demonstrate professionalism and desire to continue improving their activity.”
Alaina MacGregor, Chief Executive of British Blind Sport added:
"I congratulate Mick Smalley on receiving a Torch Trophy Trust award last week in recognition of all his hard work as a volunteer for British Blind Sport. Here at BBS we really value our volunteers and as such, nominate a person every year to celebrate their efforts to support and grow VI sport. We are delighted that this is the 5th year in a row that one of our nominees has gone on to receive an award. Mick has been supporting the football section for many years so thanks on behalf of all at British Blind Sport"