Alfreton football legend will receive special honour from the Queen

Barry Newton receives a golden envelope containing a luxury night out in London from Matt Wheatcroft, to help him celebrate his achievement.
Barry Newton receives a golden envelope containing a luxury night out in London from Matt Wheatcroft, to help him celebrate his achievement.

A well-loved Alfreton resident is set to receive an extra special honour after providing 40 years of voluntary service to a football club.

Barry Newton, an honorary life member of Sleetmoor United Football Club, will be awarded a British Empire Medal by the Queen for services to grassroots football and young people in Derbyshire.

Barry, who has given more than 40 years of voluntary service to the Swanwick-based club, is gearing up for a luxury day out in London to celebrate his New Year honour. 

He will collect his honour at a special royal garden party and investiture

ceremony, at Buckingham Palace, in May.

Barry was nominated for the honour by Matt Wheatcroft. Matt was chairman of Sleetmoor United until he stepped down in September 2019.

To help Barry mark the occasion, Matt has treated him  to a luxury experience on the day he collects his medal, buying a new suit, first-class train tickets and an overnight stay in a top London hotel for he and his wife, Janet.

Matt said: “I’ve known Barry for several years and I am awe-inspired by the

selfless service he has given to the club over the past four decades.

“I nominated him when I was Sleetmoor chairman some 18 months ago and I’m pleased he’s finally got recognition at the right level for his dedication and service.”

Over the years, Barry has helped to develop the football and life skills of thousands of local youngsters, while several players he has coached have gone on to reach the highest levels of the professional game, including former Manchester United goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington and ex-Barnsley winger Martin Bullock.

Barry said: “I was both shocked and proud when I learned I was to be given this honour from the Queen. It’s an incredibly humbling experience. I don’t do

what I do for the recognition, I do it for the love of football and a passion for

helping young people and seeing them grow, not only as footballers but also as teammates and people.

“My ethos has always been to equip the young players I coach with the skills they need to lead happy, fulfilling lives, which is what has kept me going for the past 40 years.”