FIFTY years of spreading the football gospel in Helensburgh led to Ardencaple FC receiving ‘platinum’ legacy status from the Scottish FA at an awards ceremony last week.

Robert Holland, Paul Weir and Lisa Cross travelled to Scotland’s national stadium to receive the award from the country’s football governing body.

The evening saw the formal presentation of ‘legacy status’ which was granted to Caple last year – though since then the SFA has split the status into four award levels, and last week’s event saw the club given the highest possible award.

The club currently has around 350 players of all ages, from boys and girls born as recently as 2012 right up to its amateur team, formed just last year, and even an over-35s squad.

It also has a pool of around 60 adult volunteer helpers, from coaches and first-aiders to fund-raisers, and is aiming to attract a pool of younger volunteers who can use their time spent with the club to put towards future Saltire Awards for volunteering.

Robert told the Advertiser: “There were several clubs at the awards event who had attained ‘legacy’ status at various levels, but we were one of only four in the SFA’s West Region to receive the platinum award.

“For the SFA to recognise all the good stuff that we do is very gratifying.”

To achieve platinum legacy status, the club had to demonstrate that it meets a range of strict criteria laid down by the sport’s governing body in Scotland, including inclusivity, qualified coaches, child protection policies, business plans and a wider community remit.

“It’s all about ensuring we give children a safe, fun environment in which they can learn, enjoy football and take part in physical activity where they might not otherwise have the opportunity to do so,” Robert continued.

“There are so many distractions for young people in terms of hobbies these days – all we at Caple can do is give them a start and offer them value for money, in a fun and safe setting, while keeping costs for them as low as possible.”

Caple also held a presentation evening at Hermitage Academy on Friday for the members of the club’s younger squads, from its 2002 age group up to those born in 2013. See page 38 for full coverage of the ceremony, attended by former Celtic player, Dumbarton manager and Scotland international Murdo MacLeod.