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Power to the People

Stanley Sheppard won the prestigious People’s Award at this year’s Irish FA McDonald’s Community Awards.

The awards are now in their 16th year and recognise the incredible work and commitment of volunteers within grassroots football in Northern Ireland. 

This year's ceremony took place on Thursday 23 November at the Guildhall in Derry-Londonderry. More than 180 guests were there to celebrate and recognise the highest ever number of nominations across nine regional and national award categories. 

All of the winners from the Community Awards 2017 are listed below. You can view a gallery of the winners at the bottom of the page and watch highlights from the event by clicking on the image above. 

People's Award

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The People’s Award For Outstanding Contribution To Football recognised Stanley Sheppard’s 30-plus years of coaching and administration of grassroots football clubs.

Stanley Sheppard up until the age of 27 Stanley was a semi-professional footballer, he played for a number of years with Glenavon even getting to play in the European Cup before an injury cut short his playing career.

He currently works with the Lisburn Junior Invitational Football League where he is up at 6am on a matchday checking the pitches and ensuring the league goes ahead every Saturday.

Respect Award

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The Respect Award went to Pat Neeson, the Child Welfare Officer at Carryduff Colts FC where there are 68 coaches, 14 youth league teams, seven mini soccer year groups and two senior teams. 

Volunteer of the Year

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Volunteer of the Year Derek Dunwoody has dedicated his time over many years to Belfast-based Shankill Juniors and the surrounding community. 

Young Volunteers of the Year

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Kelly Crompton and Stephen Newell were named Young Volunteers of the Year. Kelly joined Sion Swifts aged four and has gone on to coach the North-West club’s Little Dribblers section and its SionSonics disability section. Stephen sacrifices his spare time to help coach at U11 and U12 levels at Annalong Rovers in Co Down. 

Mum of the Year

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McDonald’s Football Mum of the Year Donna Maxwell has been pivotal to the growth of girls’ football at Belfast Swifts FC for a number of years. 

Restaurant of the Year

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The McDonald’s Football Restaurant of the Year accolade went to Des Lamph, the franchisee of the McDonald’s in the Westwood Centre in west Belfast.

Disability Club of the Year

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Oxford Bulls FC picked up the Disability Club of the Year award. Set up to provide inclusive football for children with disabilities, they have a core team of 12 - aged eight to 20 - who train at the CK centre in Derry. 

Accredited Club of the Year

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Clooney Soccer School was named Accredited Club of the Year. The club encourages young footballers to have fun while learning how to play the game at their new indoor facility.

Wes Gregg Coach of the Year

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The Wes Gregg Coach of the Year trophy was awarded to Chris Colhoun of Mountjoy Juniors FC, which is based near Omagh in Co Tyrone. As coach of the 2004 group he has had a superb 12 months on and off the pitch, with players travelling from far and wide every week to play competitive football.