Essex football volunteers Lawrence Segal and Bob Brimacombe were rewarded for decades of selfless work for the grassroots game recently when they were presented with FA 50-Year Awards to thank them for their efforts.
Lawrence has a distinguished career as a volunteer whilst Bob has also been instrumental in helping to provide football to many people in Essex. To be eligible for The FA’s ‘Order of Merit’ Award, the nominated individual must have completed 50 years as a football volunteer, inclusive of their playing career but excluding any football played at school.
Lawrence (pictured above, right) started in 1966 when he became Secretary for OK Jewish Youth Club FC, where he had been a player since 1963. In 1971, he started playing for Moorscott FC, the Referee Appointments Officer for the London Accountants’ League and a qualified referee, relinquishing the Appointments post in 1974 to become League Secretary.
In 1978, Lawrence started to volunteer for the Essex County FA. He was associated with the County FA until 2017 when he had to retire through age. In his time he has undertaken the following roles: Area Referee Assessing Secretary, FA Licenced Referee Instructor, elected Council Member representing youth football, Disciplinary Chairman, Board Director. Lawrence has also guided and advised many grassroots competitions.
These include the Ilford & District and Essex Business Houses Leagues and the London Old Boys Cup Competition. In 1992, Lawrence became involved with youth football as Secretary for Westhamians FC. This led to his dedicated commitment to the Echo Junior League, one of the biggest local youth leagues. He was a pivotal member of their committee for 15 years.
Bob took his referee’s ‘badge’ in in 1966/67, like many who had followed the success of England winning the World Cup in 1966. He started his career as a match official with the Mid Essex League, officiating there for 21 years. In 1971 he also took up the challenge of Match Official Secretary. He held this thankless yet rewarding position until 1982, overseeing many match officials’ graduations to higher national league status.
In 1983, Bob became Honorary Secretary, until 1985 when he changed role to Treasurer, a post he would hold for four years. He was an integral member of this progressive Saturday football league and was voted to hold the position of its Chairman in 1989, a post he was to hold for 15 years. In his time as Chairman, the league has gone from strength to strength and has become one of the most respected in East Anglia.
Bob was given the honour of being League President in 2004 and he’s still the President to date, serving as an integral member for 51 years and counting. In 1993, Bob was also a founder member of the Essex Veterans’ League, seeing the necessity to provide football to those who were getting past their prime, yet were still very competitive. He took on the role of Chairman, and he still undertakes this position. Between 2004 and 2011 he was Secretary.
To find out more about volunteering opportunities within grassroots Essex football explore the 'Volunteers' menu above, follow @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and search for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.