Football legend Kenny Dalglish has paid tribute to a coach who has dedicated his life to the sport through selfless volunteering.
Les Donaldson MBE, from Whitecross, was named as this year’s Scottish FA Best Volunteer in Schools – the highest honour in the Grassroots Awards – for his outstanding commitment to the game and rearing the young talent of future generations.
His association with the game he loves goes back to the 1960s when he played alongside a young King Kenny for Scotland against England in 1-1 schoolboy international match at Ibrox.
Les, who spent 33 years as a guidance and a PE teacher at Larbert High, has been involved with schools football for 43 years and is a key figure at both local and national levels.
The 65-year-old is the treasurer of the Forth Valley Schools leagues and squads and has coached teams at almost every age group.
At national level, Les – president of Linlithgow Rose FC – currently serves on the President’s Committee as international secretary.
Kenny Dalglish, an ambassador for the awards’ sponsor McDonald’s, said: “Grassroots is such an essential part of football, without the dedication and hard work from volunteers, young players wouldn’t be able to experience the game as they do now.
“Les demonstrates the qualities needed to push grassroots football forward and really make a difference to players all over Scotland. For that reason he should be celebrated.”
Les, who was awarded an MBE in 2002 for Services to Education and Schools Football, was presented with his volunteering award at a ceremony at Hampden Park by one of Dalglish’s former Liverpool and Scotland team-mates Graeme Souness.
Les also received the SFA Central Region Schools Volunteer of the Year in July.