David's Christian football long service honour
A man who has dedicated over 32 years of service to the Norfolk Christian Football League (NCFL) as a founder member, player, manager, referee and chairman has been honoured with a memorial trophy. League vice chairman Tim Stapleford looks back over the long football career of David Davenport.
Born and bred in Manchester, David quickly regarded Norwich as his spiritual home when he moved to the city with his wife Alma in the seventies.
David is one of the founding members of the NCFL. He played for Surrey Chapel back in 1978 in the adult league's infancy, after it was set up by Don Wilson. He also had the honour of playing in the Bishop Maurice Wood Cup Final at Carrow Road in 1979, for Surrey Chapel, when they beat Holy Trinity 1 v 0.
In 1991 the Surrey Chapel team disbanded and, through his Norwich business Interlink Express, David sponsored the re-launched Dereham Road Baptist Church football team.
David used his considerable business and football playing experience to assist myself and Alan Barnes as they expanded the football at Dereham Road to two adult squads and launched an under-12 Christian youth football league competition based at Earlham High School in 1995.
From four teams, and with David as the Youth League's first Chairman, the league quickly grew to include under 14 and under 16 teams in the following seasons.
When David stood down as Chairman of the Youth League in 1999 its three age groups had enlarged to incorporate 34 teams in just four years.
A couple of years later, after more than 22 seasons of playing in the League David retired from playing, with his later years spent playing for Dereham Road (1991 - 2001).
David then became a regular referee for both the adult and youth Christian football leagues and in 2001 helped set up a meeting at Colney training ground between Sammy Morgan (Norwich City Academy Director) and John Boyers (Manchester Utd chaplain and the managing director of SCORE - Sports Chaplains Offering Resources and Encouragement). This meeting paved the way for the appointment of Bert Cadmore and Arthur Bowles as Norwich City's first soccer chaplains.
David became the referees’ secretary for the NCFL at this time and last summer he stepped down from this position to concentrate more on his voluntary work for Norwich City on match days and in the running of his home-based sports leisure business in Old Buckenham.
David commentates on Norwich home games for supporters who are blind and tune into his live broadcast while they take in the atmosphere of the game in the stands.
In November, before the game between Norwich Vineyard and Heartsease Churches, David's long service to the League was recognised with the presentation of the 2010 Sam Hollinger Memorial Trophy for his distinguished long service.
This award was set up in 2009 by the then chief executive of YMCA Norfolk, John Drake, in memory of Sam Hollinger, long serving football manager of the Mount Zion and Family Life Centre football teams and founder of the local printing business Hollinger Print.
The trophy is awarded each season to the person who has been considered by the NCFL members and committee to have given outstanding loyal and self-sacrificing service to the League over many years.
The award's first recipient in 2009 was Rob Varley, who set up the League's website in 2005 and who was the League's secretary during a critical time in its development and expansion from 2004 until 2008.
The inscribed text on this year's award, presented to David, reads "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." from Matthew's gospel chapter 5 and verse 16.
Above, David Davenport is pictured receiving the award from Vineyard manager Jim Green and Heartsease manager Nick Lewis.