DEAN Herd would be “smiling down” at the winners of the award that is keeping his legacy as a youth pioneer alive.
That is the view of his mum, Pam – one of the judges of the first Dean Herd Memorial Prize.
Dean was one of South Holland’s most well-respected football coaches and ran Ajax Athletic Junior FC for more than 20 years.
Pam, two of Dean’s friends – Philip and John Henson –and Lincolnshire Free Press editor Jeremy Ransome had the difficult job of picking a winner and runner-up from 13 nominations. But Pam said two stood out from the rest.
Teaching assistant Nathan Shortland (22) was chosen as the winner and under-11s football coach Lee Fovargue (29) runner-up.
Pam said: “Dean would be so proud of them and the work they are doing – I know he will be smiling down.
“Two nominations really stood out – the work Nathan is doing at Spalding Primary School encouraging children to be active at break times; and how Lee was inspired by Dean when he played in one of his teams to carry on his legacy and become a football coach for Spalding United.
“We were overwhelmed by the overall response and the work being done to promote sport among the area’s young people – just like Dean did when he was alive.
“He only died in November and we miss him so much.”
Philip said: “My brother and I had the pleasure of playing in several brass bands with Dean over many years, including competing in national brass band championships, European band tours and recording two studio recordings of brass band music.
“My brother and I have been overwhelmed by the excellent quality of nominations, which have been truly inspiring.
“I am pleased that the community spirit in South Holland remains active and strong; something that Dean would have been proud of.”
Nathan, of Edward Road, Spalding, said: “I am thrilled and honoured to win. If I can inspire a young person to enjoy sport then hopefully they will take the willingness to have a go with them through life.”
Lee, of Astor Place, Spalding, said: “Dean gave up his life for sport. I am thrilled to be runner-up but also surprised because I feel am just beginning.”
Presentations of trophies and cash are due to take place later this month.