GLOUCESTERSHIRE soccer ‘servant’ Chick Knights spoke of his pride at receiving a major Football Association award – and generously heaped praise on all other long-serving and dedicated volunteers in the local game.

Chick, 85, was handed a prestigious 50-year service accolade by the FA for his part in helping shape football in the county, not least during his 35 years and more with the Stroud and District League, for whom he served as treasurer, chairman and president, a role he continues to perform with relish.

Burnley-bred Chick – real name Clifford James – worked as a mechanical, nuclear and aeronautical engineer with Rolls Royce for some 25 years and experienced a 27-year stint with the old Central Electricity Generating Board.

He moved to Gloucestershire in the early 1960s, living in Charfield and Wotton-under-Edge, and was founder member and organiser of the now-defunct Nuclear Sports and Social Club football team based at Berkeley.

Chick went on to become a life member of the Gloucestershire FA but described the 50-year award, presented to him in front of 200 people by GFA chairman Roger Burden at a Stroud and District League meeting in Frampton, as “my biggest honour”.

He said: “It’s a great privilege and it was nice coming from Roger as we have served together on GFA committees for around 25 years.

“This type of award is important because it demonstrates to people that such awards are available to deserving servants of local football, the volunteers who put so much into the game over so many years.

“There are many more than me out there who deserve this type of recognition; secretaries, managers, match officials included, and they should come forward.”