Head of Mansfield Town Football in the Community Mark Hemingray has been recognised for 26 years of service to the scheme, by being awarded with the Armchair Club’s Special Recognition Award at the Mansfield Sports Recognition Awards.
Mark, who will celebrate his 26th year with Football in the Community this week, first joined in December 1992 as a coach, and has since coached at every level from ages eight to 18.
Having worked as Head of Community since 2001, the 56-year-old has had a long-standing influence on the club’s history of developing young players.
He was assistant of the club’s Centre of Excellence during the 1990s, bringing through players such as Nathan Arnold, Alex John-Baptiste and Jake Buxton to name just a few, whilst more recently spending two seasons as youth team manager when the academy was reformed during the club’s time in the conference.
Speaking of the award, Mark said: “I’m really humbled to receive this recognition for 26 years’ service. I still remember the first day I walked through the door like it was yesterday.
“The club has changed so much over that time and I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every second. There’s been some tough times, especially when we were relegated out of the Football League. That was really tough on us as a community scheme, but in equal measure there have been some really good times.
“Since winning I’ve been blown away by the comments that have been flooding in. I dread to think how many young people have passed through our doors in the last 26 years, but for lots of them to send in messages of thanks and praise – I’m humbled that they remember me.
“Kids who were joining in our activities when I first arrived are now bringing their own children to our scheme. I just love seeing people have a smile on their face and enjoy what we do.
“I’d like to thank all of the staff and volunteers from throughout my time at Football in the Community and remember those who are sadly no longer with us.
“We are a hard-working team who strive to be the best at what we deliver. Whilst it’s an honour to receive such a prestigious award, I just want us to carry on what we are doing – making a difference within the community.”