There were celebrations for Eastbourne Borough officials last weekend, when they returned from the National League Annual Gala – at Celtic Manor - with a top award. Borough beat off competition across all three divisions to be named Community Club of the Year 2018.
The Sports pipped short-listed Woking and Macclesfield to land the prestigious title, together with a £5,000 cheque and a cut-glass trophy. The club's bid, supported by a video presentation, highlighted its pioneering Frame Football project, for youngsters with cerebral palsy. But it was the broader canvas which caught the judges' eye.
"It was heart-stopping on the night! I think they were knocked over by the range of activities at the Lane," said football chairman John Bonar. "Sue O'Brien, the National League's administrator, said the judges felt no other club could compare. We do offer most things from the nursery to the retired folks' clubs – three to about 83!"
"This makes a statement that a football club is more than simply a first team – important though that is. To land this award, ahead of the many bigger and better-resourced clubs in the National League, is a credit to so many people who make our club what we are. I hope the town will share our pride."
And the £5,000? "Sorry, Jamie, but it isn't for the playing budget! We will use it, of course, to extend the community activities, and make us stronger still."
Borough's award-clinching video presentation can be viewed on YouTube here - www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX4gW0IXlK0
Picture - It takes two: Borough chairman and vice-chairman, John Bonar and Lee Peskett, with the trophy and winners' cheque as the National League Community Club of the Year.