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Turriff Citizen Of The Year award leaves coach speechless

By Kirsty Brown

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Turriff And District Rotary Club have crowned Lesley Chapman as their Citizen Of The Year 2020.

Through her involvement with Turriff United Youth Football Club Lesley has touched the lives of hundreds of young people in the local area, as well as their families.

Answering a plea for helpers, Lesley became a coach six years ago when her daughter started training with the club, and she continues to coach the girls' teams.

Three years ago Lesley also stepped into the role of chairperson for TUYFC, which now has more than 70 coaches and trains over 330 young people.

She has also helped to set up a fund, using a grant from Aberdeenshire Community Trust, which allows struggling families to get their kids on the pitch.

When Rotary president Iain Matthews joined a coaching session to present Lesley with her award, she said that hearing she was to receive the accolade had left her speechless.

Turriff Citizen of The Year 2020 Lesley Chapman.
Turriff Citizen of The Year 2020 Lesley Chapman.

The Citizen Of The Year is decided by a small committee of Rotarians based on nominations received from the public.

The award would usually be presented at the club's Christmas meal however with that cancelled this year a coaching session provided the perfect opportunity for the handover and allowed some of the young people and coaches impacted by Lesley's contribution - who she referred to as "football family" - to share in the experience.

Commenting Lesley said: "I was completely speechless when I got the phone call from Robert [Pirie] to advise me that I had been chosen for the award, and that is a first!

"It is a real honour that the Rotary Club have given me the award but this is definitely not an individual one, it's recognition for the whole club, and I am just delighted."

"The club plays a huge part in our community and I am extremely proud to be part of it.

"It is is not just a football club it is an extended family for everyone involved.

"We are part of Turriff Community FC which also includes Turriff United FC and Turriff Thistle FC.

"We take great pride in making the club as accessible as possible to as many kids in the local area as we can , and we are the least expensive club in this area.

"We have worked extremely hard over the last two years building up our relationships with the local community and Aberdeenshire Council and we are always looking for ways to give something back.

"This has been an incredibly tough year for everyone and we all need to pull together.

"Just this month we have supported the Turriff food bank and we had some of the kids carol singing at Dawson court.

"Football plays a massive part in our children's health and wellbeing and of it wasn't for all of our volunteer coaches, committee members and parent helpers then our club definitely would not be where it is today.

"2021 is going to be another challenging year for us and hopefully we will have the kids all back doing what they love very soon...playing football!"

Turriff And District Rotary Club launched the Citizen Of The Year award in 1978 with previous recipients including the last provost of Turriff James Dawson as well as various youth group leaders, fundraisers, musicians, sports coaches and other 'weel-kent faces'.

Turriff Citizen of The Year 2020 Lesley Chapman.
Turriff Citizen of The Year 2020 Lesley Chapman.

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