Bestwood Village man honoured by the Queen

Robert Donnison
Robert Donnison

A Bestwood Village man has been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to football in Nottinghamshire’s schools.

Robert Donnison was awarded the British Empire Medal for over 50 years of service and has been “the one constant factor in the running of the South Notts Schools Football association,” helping “thousands of school boys along the way.”

A spokesperson from Buckingham Palace said: “Without his drive and commitment, many of the opportunities they have had would not have happened.

“South Notts have always ensured that their sides play football in the right spirit showing respect to all involved.”

Mr Donnison, 78, told the Dispatch: “I have known for some weeks and it’s very difficult not to tell anyone by accident.

“My first reaction was “B***** hell,”” he said. “And then - “How on earth have I got this?”
“When the official envelope arrived, my wife thought it was a speeding ticket.

“I have no idea who put me forward. I never expected it but I am pretty chuffed. It’s nice to think that someone thinks you’re worth it.”

He taught PE at Holgate school for 33 years, played football until his mid-thirties and refereed into his sixties.

He became a team manager in 1963 and then treasurer of South Notts Schools Football association in 1966, later serving as chairman until he stepped down in 2016.

“People will recognise me as the person who drove the South Notts bus!” he added. “At least I’m known for something!”

The spokesperson added: “While there are individuals managing the administration of other associations, the depth and length of their involvement will vary.

“He has held all management roles during his 55 years with South Notts, as well as organising match day raffles, refereeing matches, driving the hired bus to save driver expenses, organising referees and linesman.”

South Notts and school football has played a major part in his life since he entered teaching in the early 60s. He has received the English Schools’ Football Association Standard Awards for 40 and 50 years of service.