Davinder Singh Chana, a volunteer football coach from Southall, was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to community sport in west London in the Queen’s 2016 Birthday Honours List. Davinder, known as Dave, has been involved in grassroots football since 1996 when he joined Explorers Youth Football Club and over the years has held several roles including coach, manager, chairman and assistant club welfare officer. He is still the life vice-president of the club.
Dave is currently the head coach for Ramgarhia Sports & Social Club (RSSC) and also the Sikh Welfare Awareness Team (SWAT). He has provided coaching sessions for the Voice Youth Project in Hounslow and the Guru Nanak Sikh Academy’s “Parkash” charity events held annually to raise money for the school. He is also the general secretary and charter standard coordinator for the Middlesex Youth Football League and actively promotes and encourages compliance with equality and fair play initiatives like RESPECT, Kick-it-Out, Football v Homophobia.
On behalf of SWAT, Dave runs a Saturday morning soccer school for five to 14 year olds and has worked closely with Sporting Equals to set up a ladies and men’s yoga club, and also trained as a tennis activator to deliver indoor tennis sessions at SWAT’s Thursday night youth club held at Hayes Gurdwara.
As well as being a licensed FA Level 2 coach, Dave recently completed the FA Level 2 in talent identification and hopes to help find and develop talented young Asian players. His voluntary work was recognised by Middlesex County Football Association when he received the 10 Year Long Service Award in May 2009 and the Award for Outstanding Service to Community Football in 2014. Earlier this year in February, Dave finished runner-up as the Unsung Hero at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSA) 2016 sponsored by Lycamobile and founded by Sporting Equals. Dave juggles all his voluntary work whilst working full time as a quality engineer with Hale Hamilton Valves Ltd in Uxbridge.
Dave said: “I don’t know where 20 years have gone but I have and am thoroughly enjoying my involvement in providing sport, especially football, to the local community. I am absolutely chuffed and humbled to receive the Queen’s honour and thank everyone, especially my family, who has supported me over the years and enabled me to be recognised in this unexpected manner. The BEM more than makes up for the disappointment of not winning the BEDSA’s Unsung Hero Award.”