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Billy Simper named our Grassroots Hero

Billy Simper of AFC Lynn Napier

We are delighted to announce that Billy Simper of AFC Lynn Napier is the winner of our 2023 Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination Grassroots Hero Award.

Back in February, alongside our partners at the Anglian Combination Football League, we launched a competition inviting the 96 teams across the league to nominate someone who regularly goes above and beyond for their grassroots club.

Billy was nominated and stood out for his personal drive and commitment in growing AFC Lynn Napier from its establishment in 2016. The club currently competes in Division 4 of the Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination Football League and through Billy’s chairmanship have also developed a strong reserve, veteran and youth team set-up.

Daniel Turner, a coach at AFC Lynn who nominated Billy, explains: “We believe Billy should be recognised as the key driver in helping grow AFC Lynn as a club and involve so much of the youth within our area.

“Under Billy’s guidance we have a growing first team in the Anglian Combination and are getting sponsorship boards around the pitch to make this a place that people want to come and play. Our Reserves and Under-18s both enjoyed league and cup success last year – and many of these players have now made the step up into our first team. This season we have added an Under-7s and an Under-12s team, as well as bringing back the Veterans’ team.

He added: “Billy doesn’t just operate as a chairman, he actively gets involved with each team by attending their training and games. All of this is being done whilst he now needs a walking stick or mobility scooter to get around – but that doesn’t stop him from trying to help build the club in the Wiggenhall St. Germans/King’s Lynn community.

The amount of effort that Billy puts into this club and making it a place for youngsters to come to, despite his health challenges, is incredible and in my opinion and others in the club, needs to be recognised.

As well as recognising his personal commitment to his club, as the winner of the Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination Grassroots Hero Award, Billy has secured a brand-new Macron kit for AFC Lynn for the 2023-24 season, courtesy of Fosters Solicitors and Anglian Combination kit and equipment partners, Macron Store Norwich.

Commenting on the news, Chris Brown, Chief Executive of Fosters Solicitors added: “The purpose of our award was to highlight the community of volunteers and staff officials across our local football pyramid who dedicate their spare time to their clubs – many of which would not survive or function without this selfless support.

This was suitably highlighted by all the clubs who entered the competition and showcased so many wonderful nominees who are the lifeblood of their individual teams.

 “It was so difficult to choose just one winner and we thank all the clubs who sent in a nomination. However, for the judges, Billy’s commitment to AFC Lynn Napier and his drive of youth engagement in the King’s Lynn area, just set him apart and made him our Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination Grassroots Hero.”
As a reflection of the wealth of nominations received, the judges also wished to recognise two highly commended runners-up. Congratulations therefore also go to Mark O’Donnell of Beccles Caxton FC and Darragh Leman of Castle Acre Swifts FC, who were both strongly nominated by their clubs for their support and commitment.

Mark O’Donnell (left) and Darragh Leman (right)

Dale Brown, Chairman of the Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination, said: “Alongside our title partners, Fosters Solicitors, we would like to thank everyone who entered the competition and took the opportunity to recognise the key people at their clubs.

“On behalf of everyone at the league, we would like to congratulate Billy Simper as the overall winner, as well as runners-up Mark O’Donnell and Darragh Leman – the warm words written about them by their clubs completely epitomises everything we know happens across the Anglian Combination, and that clubs would be nothing without the many people who dedicate their time and energy to keep them going.”   

This article was produced on the 27th April 2023 for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.