YEARS of dedication by a junior football coach have been deservedly rewarded with a prestigious honour.

Simon Hansen has won the Westmorland County FA’s Coach of the Year award, part of the national FA and McDonalds Grassroots Football Awards scheme, for his unstinting voluntary work with Kendal United JFC.

And club chairman Tim Pryor paid tribute to Mr Hansen’s work over many years which he said had been a major factor in the club’s success both on and off the field.

“Simon has always been a dedicated volunteer taking on many roles at the club,” he said.

“His commitment to coaching teams even where he has no child playing just to ensure other children get to play, is a credit to his character.

“However his coaching skills have also come to the fore in developing our senior football squad, not by getting the best available players but by developing young players to fulfil their potential.

“This dedication to developing our youth players resulted in the team winning the prestigious Benevolent Trophy with a very young side.

“Simon’s achievement in winning the FA grassroots coach of the year award is well deserved and is all down to his enduring commitment and coaching ability.”

And a host of other local football stalwarts were also honoured in the awards.

April Wood was named Volunteer of the Year for her work in running the Kent Valley Junior League, while Westmorland League side Burneside FC were delighted at the news that Steve Croskell was named Groundsman of the Year.

Robert Greenwood won the Rising Star of the Year award while another Westmorland League outfit, Staveley United FC, were named Club of the Year.

“A little bit of a shock to be awarded this award this year thanks to all the lads involved that have put Staveley Football Club back on the map again,” read a statement which was issued on the club’s official Twitter account.

And a sign of the huge strides made in the development of girls’ football in the area was shown by the fact that the South Lakes Girls’ League won the League of the Year award.

There was also a Supporter of the Year award which was won by Wattsfield Youth’s Chris Miller.