A LOCAL football coach has been recognised for his volunteering efforts in the community with an award at Live Argyll’s Volunteer Sport Awards.

Stewart Maule, Rhu Amateurs boss and a janitor at St Joseph's Primary School in Helensburgh, was named Young Person’s Coach of the Year for his work in developing footballing opportunities for youngsters in Argyll and Bute.

The awards run in partnership with sportscotland and aim to celebrate and reward the success and achievements of coaches and volunteers in Argyll and Bute schools and community sport clubs.

Maule worked tirelessly to include a girls football programme for those in the early stages of primary school and admits he can see the transformation from when the sessions were introduced.

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He told the Advertiser: “I had spotted at the school that they used to start the football clubs at primary four and five so I said to the head teacher if I could do one purely for girls in primary one, two and three because there wasn’t a great opportunity for them to play football and it’s flourished.

“I look into the playground now and from when I first started at the school seven years ago when no girls played football, to now when I looked in the playground recently and the primary six girls were playing the boys.

“We’ve got a girl in primary seven who’s now up training at Rangers and they all love it, regardless of what level they are playing at, so from a football development point of view that works really well.”

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Since Maule took over at Rhu two years ago, the club has continued to grow and is now an influential part of the community with the boss delighted at how far his side have come.

He added: “The stuff that we’ve done at Rhu and how we’ve managed to turn that around in the last couple of years regarding the profile and the players and making it more local has all tied into the award as well.”

Maule, who has also been a youth coach at Dumbarton FC, also continues to run season football camps throughout school holidays and organised the popular Midnight League programme that gave free, organised football to local kids.

He added: “You do it because you love football and to help people, and to instil that love that I have for football into young kids and watch them flourish and grow to love it.”

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