Prince William honours Purnell football hero at Buckingham Palace
A grassroots footballing hero from Paulton says she was "totally overwhelmed" to be invited to spend yesterday at Buckingham Palace as a guest of Prince William and the Football Association.
Claire Burton, who is the child welfare officer for both Purnell Sports Youth FC and the Midsomer Norton Youth Football League, was one of 150 soccer volunteers from across the country to receive a medal of recognition from HRH The Duke of Cambridge.
She also watched as the Buckingham Palace garden staged its first-ever football match, featuring two of the oldest amateur clubs in England - Civil Service FC, the sole surviving club from the XI that met to create The FA in 1863, and Polytechnic FC.
"From start to finish, my day was incredible," said Burton, who also received the Outstanding Contribution to Community Football award from Somerset FA this year.
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"The award ceremony in the Ball Room at the Palace, lunch and then being able to share in the first-ever match to be played on the Palace lawns - I was totally overwhelmed.
"I'm very proud of myself and honoured to have been recognised for my work along with 150 other volunteers for our outstanding contribution to football. It is a day I shall always remember.
The event was part of the celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the FA, of which Prince William is president.
"In our 150th year, it is hugely important for The FA to honour the efforts of the many thousands of volunteers who, week in, week out, help to provide the opportunity for millions more people to enjoy football at grassroots level," he said.
"Inviting 150 of these volunteers to Buckingham Palace provides a fitting way for The FA to pay tribute and give thanks."
Burton's sister, Karen Weeks, added: "As a family, we are so proud to know that she can go to Buckingham Palace along with the other grassroot heroes.
"She finally receives the recognition she deserves for the countless number of hours she volunteers her time to create a positive, active and thriving local league."