Light at the end of the tunnel for Mr Ilkeston Town

Award-winning volunteer Mark Frost found light at the end of a personal tragedy by giving his time to his local football club.

The Ilkeston Town club secretary, 50, became his oldest son’s carer when a heart attack at the age of just 18 months resulted in the loss of his leg.

Frost initially took up a position as a school governor on his sabbatical, but 14 years ago he started volunteering at the club he loves.

He now oversees the entire operation at the The Microlise New Manor Ground, with the first team competing in the Pitching In Northern Premier League Premier Division, but admits it is youth football which still gives him the biggest sense of satisfaction.

“I have so much football in my life that I struggle watching it, but if you give me an under 7s game where these children are starting out for the very first time and have ambitions and dreams, that’s the reason I do it,” Frost said.

“We offer these young footballers a dream by coming into our football club and we give them a safe space to play football.

“To watch them kick a football for the very first time is just absolutely fantastic.”

Frost won the first-ever Unsung Hero award at the Derbyshire County FA awards earlier this year but that’s not the first time his efforts have been recognised, with the 50-year-old named Derbyshire County FA Volunteer of the Year in 2017 for his exploits that have seen him undertake all manner of tasks.

“In 2016, we had travellers in camp on the football ground,” he explained.

“My mum's a big Christian and she had been to a Christian convention to do a talk in an area where white people were not permitted.

“She told me there is good in all people. I said mum, ‘I've got 21 caravans on our football fields, what are they thinking?’

“I walked there on my own, knocked on the door of the first caravan and said: ‘I hope this says a lot about me as a person as I've come on my own, but what are you doing on these football fields?’

“I provided them with some refuge bags and said I would allow them to stay a few days as long as they put their rubbish in the waste bags.

“They thanked me. They said everywhere we go, we're met by violence, and they left when they said they would.”

Frost is one of countless volunteers who play integral roles at non-league clubs across the country, with opportunities to get involved now available through the Pitching In Volunteer Hub.

He believes there is great value in fans helping their local club and has a message for those considering getting involved.

“Football is at an all-time high at the moment and there are some great people in football, but volunteering is at an all-time low,” he added.

“For every hour I give, I get so much back. I encourage everyone to give it a go but everybody's too busy nowadays.

“I would urge anyone to give something back to the community and see the difference it makes to children and young footballers.”

Find volunteering opportunities at your local club by visiting https://pitchinginvolunteers.co.uk/.

Where next?

2023/24 Fixture Amendments #25 Postponed games from today have been re-arranged in three of the four divisions.
The NPL Show - December 1st The weekly catch up with Ben

Match centre

Senior Northern Premier League - Premier
Senior Northern Premier League - East
Senior Northern Premier League - Midlands
Senior Northern Premier League - West

Latest photos

The Pitching In Northern Premier League newsletter

Keep up-to-date with our exclusive email newsletters.

Subscribe