A TEENAGE football fan has been awarded by the High Sheriff of Durham for her work in the community.
Anne-Marie Banks has been given the High Sheriff Award for the most volunteer hours in Country Durham.
The 17-year-old, of Shotton Colliery, has been coaching the Shotton Colts under-8s football team for the last three years, and believes she’s racked up more than 1,000 hours of volunteering time.
She fell in love with football when she began playing in Year 6 at Shotton Hall Academy, and hopes to pursue a career in coaching.
Anne-Marie, who coaches the team at Farringdon Community Sports College, in Sunderland, said: “I was doing a leadership course at school and started helping my brother-in-law, John Dale, out with his under-9s team as an assistant coach. Then the Shotton Colts boss, Peter Hylton, asked he if I wanted to take on my own team.
“I did my level one coaching badge to become a qualified coach and I’ve had them ever since. I know when I was in Year 10 at school, I did about 300 hours of volunteer coaching, so by now I imagine I’ve done well over 1,000.”
I just love seeing the smiles on their faces when they’re playing football and the way they enjoy games whether it’s a win, lose or a draw – it’s all about having fun.Anne-Marie Banks
Anne-Marie, who is doing a PE apprenticeship at St Michael’s C of E Primary School, in Bishop Middleham, Ferryhill, added: “I train with the team every Tuesday night, and we do extra sessions and mini tournaments, and we also train on Saturday during the Russell Foster Tyne and Wear Youth League.
“I love coaching them and I wouldn’t change them for the world – they’re brilliant.
“The team is mostly boys but we have one girl and she definitely gives them a run for their money.
“I just love seeing the smiles on their faces when they’re playing football and the way they enjoy games whether it’s a win, lose or a draw – it’s all about having fun.”
Anne-Marie says she was shocked when she learned she was due to be handed the award marking her work in the community.
She said: “I was shocked when I first found out about it and then I just felt really proud.
“I’ve always wanted a career in coaching and it’s something I’m definitely going to go for. The team will all be really chuffed for me and I can’t wait to show them my award.”