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Unsung Ken Knights rewarded for Bradford City disability work
Ken Knights has landed a special lifetime award in recognition of his work with City’s disability football club.
The 61-year-old Haworth resident was awarded the Football League Trust Every Player Counts unsung hero prize, which recognises an individual who is truly committed to their community team.
He received the award from none other than England World Cup winner Gordon Banks.
Knights, who has been involved with City’s Community Foundation and Bradford Disability Football Club since it started in 2001, has progressed from support worker to assistant coach and now leads the team where his son Mark plays.
Alongside his commitments as a carer to several players, Knights often uses his days off collecting and dropping players off around the city.
Without his efforts, many of them would not be able to attend the sessions and would miss the physical, health and social benefits of club membership.
Knights said: “It is a great club – the players are a fantastic set of characters and it gives me a lot of pleasure to see them getting out and enjoying themselves.
“The most pleasing thing is the way the players work together and support each other. It is so rewarding to see them blossom and make new friends through Bradford City’s disability football club.”
Bantams football in the community officer Ian Ormondroyd said: “Players often comment how Kenny understands their needs and what they are able to achieve.
“Without Kenny’s support the activity would not have the friendly, understanding feel that it does.
“Through his day job, working with people with disabilities, Kenny is able to offer a wealth of experience and skills that we feel make our club a better place to be for people with a disability.”
When several of City’s disability squad were selected to represent Brad-ford at the Special Olympics, Knights took a week off work to help look after the players and co-ordinate the event in Leicester.
“Ken often uses his holidays to support the project and is a valuable member of the coaching and support team here,” said Ormondroyd.
Every Player Counts, a leading project of the Football League Trust, is supported by The Football Pools, who donate £2.59million to the project. The scheme now includes 48 Football League clubs, which are growing disability sport provision across Britain.
Trust general manager Mike Evans said: “Over 1,000 volunteers up and down the country help make this project what it is and our unsung hero award recognises all of their input. “But it was typical of Ken and Bradford City that a coach-load of players made the trip down to the NEC to support our Every Player Counts day. It’s that kind of commitment that makes Ken a very worthy winner.”