Longridge Town's top award

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LONGRIDGE Town have received the coveted Charter Standard Community Status - one of only 13 amateur clubs out of more than 100 in Lancashire and Greater Manchester to gain the honour.

Representatives from Longridge Town attended Blackburn Rovers' Premiership match against Fulham on Saturday and at half-time Steve Hardace (vice chairman), Val Wallbank ( club welfare) and Finlay Rhodes (under 9 player) went onto pitch side to receive the accolade - recognised as the highest award an amateur club can receive.

In June 2006 the club received the Charter Standard and now some 18 months later more hard work has paid off in being given the Charter Standard Community Status.

This accolade means that the club has been recognised and proved that it is a well run club. It has set standards in discipline, organisation and ensures best practices, having policies in place to protect the welfare of the players, parents and all volunteers.

Longridge Town runs teams from ages under seven right through to seniors and has a successful ladies' team and two junior female sides. The senior first team have recently reached the semi final of the Guild Hall Cup to be played at Lostock Hall on Good Friday.

Along with the good news comes some sad news, with the announcement that junior section chairman Mark Clegg has stepped down after 14 years.

He started out as a parent and then a manager, like many of the coaches today, until being voted chairman 10 years ago. He has seen teams win cups and trophies and feels it's now time to give more to his business. A replacement for Mark will be announced at the AGM on April 14.

Recently the Under 9's goalkeeper, Alex Mason, along with Under 11 team players, Sam Isherwood, Jake Higham and Henry Cameron, have progressed up the ladder by being given contracts with Blackpool football club.

Will Hayhurst from the Under 14s has also left the club and he has gone to Preston North End.

The Under 11 manager Ian Isherwood and his assistant Paul Higham will, like their sons, also be stepping down.

The junior section will be looking for anyone interested to help with or run this team and also the Under 7s will be looking for a manager and assistant from September.

After running the ladies and starting up of the girls teams, Sami Clegg is also moving on. She is off to America to enhance her career, after completing a Level 2 course.

Longridge Town has strong links with Longridge High School and just before Christmas, the school received notification that they too had been awarded the Charter Standard for Schools.

The Charter Standard proves that in school and in the community, both the football club and the school work hard to maintain standards and have achieved the highest award for this.