A FOOTBALL coach who has trained Barrhead school pupils for over two decades has been rewarded for his dedication.

Carlibar Primary’s Graham Hodgson, 60, was presented with the Lifetime Coaching Achievement Award at an annual ceremony held for coaches, volunteers and referees in East Renfrewshire.

Having spent so many years organising P4 to P7 football teams, Graham now coaches the sons and daughters of many of his former players.

Graham received his award at the East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure (ERCL) Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards from Olympic rugby star Mark Bennett.

Active Schools team leader Barry Cook introduced Graham to the stage, saying: “Where most schools provide football for primary six and seven, Graham has provided the opportunity for all boys and girls from primary four to seven.

“Our winner has also had a significant impact in the school’s ethos towards football for all. This has ensured a lot of the children carry on their participation at local clubs.

“Many of the current parents still regale of their positive experiences of our winner, taking them for football while attending Carlibar, and now their children do likewise.”

Graham was one of 10 highly committed sports personnel from the region who were honoured during the bash at Eastwood House in Giffnock.

Anthony McReavy, chief executive of ERCL, said: “We’re very fortunate that East Renfrewshire has so many talented and dedicated people who make sure sport is available at all levels of ability.

“We wanted to pay tribute to them and say thank you for their efforts.”

The other award winners were: Community Coach of the Year – Tommy Gillan, from Sporting Judo Barrhead; Young Volunteer of the Year – Steven Clark, from Kirkhill Primary; Young Persons Coach of the Year – David Gatherer, from Scottish Eventing; Volunteer of the Year – Bob McDonald, from East Renfrewshire Soccer Development Association; and Performance Development Coach of the Year – William Smith, from Flair Gymnastics.

The Young Coach of the Year award went to Sarah Graham, also from Flair Gymnastics; High Performance Coach of the Year was given to Jacqueline McGrory, from Jam School of Dance; football referee Steven McLean won the Technical Official of the Year Award; and Disability Coach of the Year went to Rebecca Jones.