Spencer Radley-Martin, 16, has seen off competition from all over England and Wales to secure the 'Every Player Counts National Player of the Year Award' with 1966 World Cup heroes Gordon Banks and Roger Hunt presenting the youngster with the honour at the annual Football League Trust conference in Milton Keynes on June 3.
The National Player of the Year accolade was devised by The Trust and The New Football Pools to recognise excellence in the game and commitment to the programme.
Players from Every Player Counts schemes across England and Wales were shortlisted for the five regional honours, those who were triumphant were then put forward for the overall national prize. The award was judged by a panel comprising of staff from both The Football League Trust and The New Football Pools.
Every Player Counts, a leading project of The Football League Trust, has received a donation of £2.59million from The New Football Pools for a three-year pan-disability scheme that will develop football opportunities at Football League Clubs across England and Wales.
Spencer joined Brighton & Hove Albion's Seagulls Specials, a football club for disabled children and adults, eleven years ago and has since gone on an incredible football journey, displaying dedication to his club. His achievement is all the more remarkable considering that earlier this year he was critically ill and spent weeks in Intensive Care.
While in hospital Spencer was so concerned about his team, he kept in regular contact with them and attended training as soon as he was strong enough to support from the side line.
Jon Sheehy, Marketing Director at The New Football Pools said: "The nominations for these awards are inspiring. This programme and Spencer's achievements in particular really demonstrate the power of football and how sport can provide a real driving force for change.
"This stems from our core heritage as a football business committed to supporting local and national initiatives within the club's communities. Creating opportunities and pathways for players of all abilities is a central theme of the Every Player Counts scheme and we hope recognition through these awards will add to the individual's motivation and success."
Spencer has given hundreds of hours of his time volunteering in the junior department of his club and is regarded as a role model by both players and their parents after overcoming his difficulties to achieve so much.
The New Football Pools has developed a longstanding relationship with football and the community during its 85 year history. From 1975 to 2000, the pools companies were one of the only sources of external funding for British football with donations currently totalling £530million. In 2009, The New Football Pools announced donations of £5.9 million across The Football League.
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