A PENSIONER is set to receive a British Empire Medal for his 50 years voluntary work with young people in Newton.
Robert Selby, known to his friends as Bob, has been working with youth clubs for five decades.
The 78-year-old football teams for Newton-le-Willows Boys Club since he was first introduced to the club when he was in his twenties.
“I had done two years national service when I was 19 and ended up as a Full Corporal Physical Training Instructor,” said Mr Selby.
“After I left the army I was brought down to the club by a friend. I’ve been involved with the sports teams ever since.”
Bob worked as a winder, winching cages full of miners out of the pits, at several local collieries but remained involved in youth sports.
“I’m very proud to be recognised like this, it’s nice for me and my family. We are due to celebrate 50 years of the Newton boys club with a reunion in November which I’m looking forward to. A good number of the lads have already got in touch to say well done,”
Bob also described how the club helped after tragedy struck the Selby family when his son Chris died in a motorcycle accident aged 18.
“It was a terrible time and I was away from the club for a long while,” said Mr Selby.
“But then the family started to suggest that I should start up again and as soon as I blew that whistle for the first time I was back into it.”
Proud wife Sheila, 77, who also managed a boys club football team, said their entire family, including their three children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren were extremely proud of his achievement.
“He thoroughly deserves it,” she added.