A PRESTIGIOUS 50-year award has been presented by the FA to the Essex and Suffolk Border League’s Mick Willmore.

It is to recognise his decades of volunteering in grassroots football.

To be eligible for the FA’s Order of Merit Award, a nominated individual must have completed 50 years as a football volunteer, inclusive of their playing career but excluding any football played at school.

Clacton-based Willmore was presented with his memento by the Essex County FA’s representative to the FA, Alec Berry, in December.

Willmore started playing in 1963, three years before England won the World Cup.

A prolific goalscorer at all levels of grassroots football, he played in over 800 games and scored more than 300 goals in a 21-year career.

A hard-tackling, no-nonsense player, he would always cause problems for a defence.

He played for Thorpe Social, Thorpe Rangers (Sunday) - a team he helped form - Clacton Monarchs, Holland Royals (Sunday), Harlequins (Sunday) and Weeley Athletic.

In between playing, he started his administrative duties with various clubs, too.

These roles covered a 32-year period between grassroots football and step five clubs, both on Saturdays and Sundays, all while maintaining his responsibilities to his young family.

In 1995, Willmore moved into administration roles with competitions and he is still involved to this day.

He is well-known for a great deal of commitment to the Essex and Suffolk Border League.

This is a Saturday, open-age, male, step seven league who, every year, enter the national FA Inter-League Cup and, most years, reach the latter stages.

In 2009, Willmore was elected as an Essex county FA council member, undertaking various roles on their behalf.

An active participant for the judicial panel, he would always ask the awkward question!

He has also successfully organised County Cup competitions for various age groups, always supporting as many of the annual finals as he could.

To find out more about volunteering within grassroots Essex football, visit, follow @EssexCountyFA on Twitter and search for EssexFootball on Facebook.