Hornchurch football coach scores top prize at sports awards

Mirror Pride of Sports Sports Awards 2014 at Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
Volunteer of the Year

Mirror Pride of Sports Sports Awards 2014 at Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Volunteer of the Year Alexandra Goldstone. With David Seaman and Amy Williams. Picture: Mirrorpix/Philip Coburn - Credit: Mirrorpix

A tireless teen volunteer was recognised for coaching a football team for people with Down’s syndrome.

Alexandra Goldstone, 19, from Hornchurch, won Volunteer of the Year at this year’s Pride of Sport Awards after spending six years helping out with Charlton Athletic’s Upbeats football team.

Inspired by her 23-year-old brother Perry, who has Down’s syndrome and trains at the club, Alexandra started helping out once a week and has continued to do so despite moving to Canterbury to study at Canterbury and Christchurch University.

The education studies and special education needs student attended a star-studded ceremony with the likes of former footballer David Seaman and former skeleton racer Amy Williams to pick up her prize.

Alexandra said: “It’s just incredible to have won, it was a total surprise – I’d like to think my brother is really proud of me.

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“I’ve always wanted to do something with people with special needs – my mum’s a special needs teacher – but coaching is definitely more my thing.”

The Upbeats volunteer, who helps out with the club’s under 11s and adult team, collected the Daily Mirror and Sport England accolade at a ceremony earlier this month at Mayfair’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

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Alexandra said of her coaching experience: “It’s the little things that make it so worthwhile – it’s when I have been able to work with a child and I can see the progress they’re making.”

She added: “Giving up your time is something that more young people should think about – you can really make a difference.”

The former Frances Bardsley and Sanders School pupil said Charlton Athletic had been “very appreciative” of her work.

She said of the footballers: “It’s great to see them grow – they’ve become like my extended family.”

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