Westbury football stalwart honoured by PM
A volunteer groundsman who has prepped Westbury’s football pitches for 50 years is the latest winner of a new Point of Light award, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.
Pete Smart has painted more than 5,000 miles of lines on Westbury Youth Football Club’s Redland Lane grounds - enough stretch from Wiltshire to Brazil.
Mr Smart is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
Mr Smart has been groundsman at Redland Lane for the past 20 years and is now Honorary Life President of the Westbury Youth Football Club, providing Westbury’s young sportspeople with one of the best playing surfaces for grassroots football in Wiltshire.
Having previously coached Warminster Town’s Youth team for two decades, he has a keen eye for creating the greatest grounds. He also co-founded the Mid Wilts Youth and Minor League and is now training the grandchildren of people he coached when he was younger.
Mr Smart can be seen at Redland Lane up to four times a week, including the early hours every Saturday and Sunday mornings, preparing the pitches for the children to play their matches or carry out training. All the pitches are marked out and prepared to a very high standard each and every week and everyone at the club is indebted to him for his efforts.
On top of all that, Mr Smart has also been a major part of Westbury’s Tournament as he meticulously plans, marks and prepares all the small sided pitches the children play on. His outstanding commitment was celebrated last year as part of the Football Association’s 150 Grassroots Heroes Programme.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Pete has shown a tireless dedication to football in his local area. His work over the past 50 years both as a coach and a groundsman has enabled generations of young footballers in Wiltshire to play the game they love. I’m delighted to recognise Peter’s service by making him a Point of Light today.”
Mr Smart said: “This is a big surprise! I’m delighted with the award, not just for me but for youth football in general. I love doing the work I do down at the ground. We’ve now got over 300 boys and girls playing football and it’s great to be able to help give them somewhere to play.”
The Points of Light awards have been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA, which has recognised over 5,000 people. The US programme was established by President George H. W. Bush, and both he and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK.
Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award will honour shining examples of volunteering across the UK.