Olympian Holly Bradshaw salutes award-winning coach from Fleetwood Town
Fleetwood Town Juniors FC coach Chris Morton's outstanding dedication earned him a surprise meeting with an Olympic athlete and left the club Â£2,000 better off.
Fleetwood Town Juniors FC coach Chris Morton’s outstanding dedication earned him a surprise meeting with an Olympic athlete and left the club Â£2,000 better off. Volunteer coach Chris, 32, is the north regional winner in the ‘People’s Podium’ award scheme run by SPAR and British Athletics.And he received a most welcome surprise at a training session last week, when British pole vault champion Holly Bradshaw turned up at the club’s Poolfoot Farm complex in Thornton to congratulate him and present the winner’s cheque.The scheme aims to celebrate and reward individuals from all over the UK who benefit their communities by their contribution to local sport.Chris coaches girls at FTJFC at least four days a week and manages teams in matches over the weekend. He also serves as club secretary, vice-chairman and treasurer. His Thursday Wildcats sessions for girls aged 3-11 attract up to 50 each week. Chris has developed six girls’ teams from under-7 to under-13s and helps the boys’ teams whenever he can.The cash prize will be used for new kit and equipment. As a regional winner, Chris will now be considered for the overall national award.The winner will receive a further Â£10,000 and be recognised on the ‘People’s Podium’ alongside the stars of British athletics at the Muller Anniversary Games at the London Stadium on July 21-22.Bradshaw, the 26-year-old Blackburn Harrier, was crowned British champion for the fourth successive year at the end of JunePreston-born Bradshaw is the British indoor and outdoor record holder and has also won 10 national titles overall.A Team GB Olympian in Rio two years ago, Bradshaw is a former European gold medallist and world bronze medallist and finished fourth at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.Following her latest British triumph, Holly has qualified for the European Championships in Berlin next month, but she found time in her hectic schedule to meet Christopher at Poolfoot. Holly said: “It was a total surprise for Christopher when we turned up and it was really cool.“He puts so much work in because he loves the sport and it’s right that people like him should be recognised because of their passion and the way they inspire young people in sport, especially females. I played football myself and I wouldn’t be where I am now without people like him at Blackpool Harriers. “There are some volunteers who have been there since I started.“It’s crazy to think how much work they do just because they love the sport.”Chris is looking forward to joining the other four regional winners at the Anniversary Games on Saturday, July 21 when they will discover which of them wins the star prize. He told the Gazette: “To be in the final five out of up to 4,000 who were nominated is really special, and I’m very grateful to the club for nominating me. “The Â£2,000 will go towards the oldest team I coach, who will be under-14s next season.“We now have 140 girls at the club and the teams go down to under-sevens.“I really want to help the club to continue to grow and grow.”