TWO local heroes were among those recognised at the 2018 McDonald’s FAW Grassroots Football Awards which took place at the Cardiff City Stadium.

David Nickless and Colin Jackson, from Flintshire and Wrexham, respectively, were honoured for their dedication and contributions to football.

Mr Nickless played an integral part in discovering and developing the talents of countless players including Michael Owen, Wayne Hennessey, the late Gary Speed, and the former Liverpool and Wales star, Ian Rush MBE, who presented the pair with their accolades.

For his tireless work towards the beautiful game over the past 38 years, Mr Nickless was handed the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ Award at the ceremony.

“First of all, disbelief, but after thinking about it, I feel proud that I’ve received this,” he said after picking up the gong.

Mr Nickless has become known for his dedication, positive attitude, and total commitment to the sport which has led him to supporting thousands of young people in North Wales to play football.

“David Nickless is a name synonymous with grassroots football in North Wales,” said Neil Ward, chief executive of the FAW Trust.

“He lives and breathes football and has helped cultivate the talents of a long list of high-profile players. But it’s not just about the big names. He is a stalwart of the Welsh grassroots game and has helped thousands of young people over the years to play and enjoy football.”

Mr Nickless’ involvement began with an Under 11 team in Buckley before he became the assistant manager of Deeside Primary Schools Football Association in 1983.

In 1989, though, Deeside Primary was renamed the Flintshire Primary Schools Football Association, of which Mr Nickless has been manager and treasurer ever since, while simultaneously running county sides at Under 12, 13, 14, and 15 age groups at the same time.

His nomination form read: “There are hundreds of boys and a number of girls who have benefited from the dedication of Mr Nickless and his colleagues. Many of these have become internationally famous, not only representing their country but also captaining it too.

“Mr Nickless has always encouraged these boys and girls not only to be good footballers but more importantly to be good citizens. They are always encouraged to behave accordingly, be good ambassadors and to mature into well-balanced and appreciative individuals.”

The determined hero was also key to the establishment of the Clwyd Regional Development Centre which he later extended to cover the whole of North Wales. Such was its success that it was soon replicated in South Wales before forming the basis of the National and Regional Development Groups now organised by the FAW and the FAW Trust.

Mr Nickless is now working as a member of the FAW Trust Talent ID team after initially being appointed as a selector for the Welsh Schools’ FA Under 15 and 16 football teams in 1998.

Colin Jackson, of Penycae Football Club in Wrexham, was also commended at the 2018 McDonald’s FAW Grassroots Football Awards with Ian Rush presenting him with the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ accolade.

Mr Jackson has selflessly dedicated much of his free time over the past 35 years to Penycae FC, making sure he does everything he can to ensure the smooth running of the club.

From maintaining the side’s pitches, for the senior, reserve, and various youth teams, to becoming treasurer and chairman of Penycae FC, Mr Jackson has done and given his all.

Described as “a visionary for the club”, Mr Jackson started out as a player and volunteer. His passion for the future of the club has been unwavering, making him an outright champion for grassroots football in the local area, and a deserved ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award winner.