Former Heaton Stannington secretary Ken Rodger has been awarded the Arthur Clark Memorial Trophy after 60 years’ service to grassroots football.

The Ebac Northern League’s trophy is presented annually to the person who best represents the values of the league.

League chairman Glenn Youngman said:  “Ken has been a real stalwart of the league for many years and one of the most recognisable people at games around the region.

“As soon as someone suggested that he receives this year’s trophy, there was unanimous support by colleagues on the League Management Committee.

“We’re all delighted that Ken is on the mend after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.  Hopefully this presentation will boost his spirits even further.”

Ken, who is 82, had to stand down as Heaton Stannington’s secretary when he was diagnosed  He said:  “It’s  a tremendous honour to be awarded the trophy and I’m very grateful to the league.”  He was also presented with a tankard.  Ken  is also a former secretary at Ryton & Crawrook Albion.

Ken played junior and senior football before becoming a referee and then moving into coaching and administration.

His Northern League experience saw him appointed as secretary for Ryton F.C. in 2005, when they were first promoted to the league, and he was with the club until 2013, and during this period he was chosen as the Northern League Unsung Hero by member clubs.

He had 2013 -14 season off but realised that watching games and not having any input was not for him and got involved again when Derek Thompson, ‘The Stan’s’ Manager, asked him if he would take on the  secretary’s role at newly-promoted Heaton Stannington at the start 2014/15 season.