ROTARY ROUND-UP: Football club owner nominated for award
This week, David Chapman, from the Rotary Club of West Worthing, gives an update on the latest and future goings-on.
West Worthing Rotary Club has taken the opportunity to nominate local boy George Dowell for a national Rotary Young Citizen Award.
The award showcases those young people who have triumphed over adversity and shown citizenship and commitment to the community.
George has met and surpassed all these criteria and also attained celebrity status from his appearance in The Undateables on Channel 4.
George dreamed of playing professional football and played for Worthing Football Club before a car crash left him paralysed from the chest down and changed his life forever.
But now he has a different dream – guiding the club to the National League South.
The former defender bought the club he used to play for, using the compensation from his accident to help the club out of their financial challenges.
George was already on the bench for the first team when he was involved in the accident in April 2010 that broke his spine and left him paralysed from the waist down.
After ten months of rehabilitation in the Salisbury spinal unit it took him a while to get back to being involved in football, but when he saw in the paper that Worthing FC were in financial trouble he contacted his old friends at the club.
George said: “I took a punt and here we are. Nothing beats playing, ask any retired player, but if you can’t play, you have to find the next best thing, and the next best thing is being a coach or an owner.”
He said he is likely to spend “hundreds of thousands” of pounds on the club but hopes it can also benefit the whole community.
“We’re putting down the 3G pitch,” he added. “When Worthing isn’t using it the rest of the community can come and use it. It’s great having a football centre that everyone can use.
“I love football but it’s also a business decision. It will hopefully filter younger players into the Worthing team and attract new players. The five-year plan is to be in the National League South, the former Alliance Premier League.”
The Rotary Club of Great Britain and Ireland offers young citizen awards to young people who show outstanding merit.
The selected winners receive a trophy, certificate and a prize of £500 for their nominated charity or project that the winners are involved with.
The nationally televised awards will be presented at the National Rotary Conference in Bournemouth, early in April.
President of West Worthing Rotary Club, Sue Vigo, said: “We are really proud to be able to nominate George Dowell for the Young Citizen Award.
“He has risen above crushing bad luck and great adversity to turn his disadvantage into something positive, to take back his life, and at the same time, to do something to make a significant contribution to the Worthing community.
“We hope the nomination is successful, but we also wanted to put our admiration for this young man’s courage on record.”
Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:
• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 262222.
• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.
• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 01903 234957.
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