A massive congratulations to Freddie Hudson and Neil Fraser-Davis who have been named as our Premier League Community Captains.
As part of the Premier League’s 30th anniversary celebrations, more than 100 unsung heroes who deliver brilliant work for their clubs and communities have been recognised.
We’re delighted to confirm our Head of Community Freddie Hudson and our Hale End Facilities Manager Neil Fraser-Davis as our well-deserved winners of a special PL30 Community Champion armband and pennant.
Freddie was awarded the accolade by Alan Shearer at a special Premier League 30th Anniversary celebration event at Speaker’s House in Parliament. Freddie has been involved in our community department for 35 years and was formally recognised for his outstanding contribution to our community department’s work to positively impact the lives of young people.
Meanwhile, Neil was presented his award at Hale End by our Operations Manager, Will Oldham, earlier today for his outstanding commitment to our academy. He has been at the club for almost half of his life and has risen through the ranks – from starting as a Highbury Steward to being an integral part of our Academy today.
Across his 23 years at the club, Neil has been a key part of our history. Along with carrying out the Invincibles Trophy onto the pitch at Highbury, he was also responsible for the cannon that adorns the seats at Emirates Stadium.
"John Beattie and Mark Pearce are the ones who have really supported me all the way through. They believed in me and moved me here from the Emirates after being there, fixing the chairs."
Now at Hale End, Neil helps oversee the development of our Academy boys at particularly formative ages. "It's very special to me because I see them from a very young age and I get to know their parents. I'm so proud of all of them. I'm so proud of every boy that comes in here, whether they make it or not."
"It's very important, the message that Per puts out with Strong Young Gunners. The DNA of Hale End is to nurture these boys first of all, into becoming responsible people. Football is the next part of that, so you can't have one and not the other."
He also spoke of his pride after receiving the honour. "It's unbelievable. This club just throws things out of the blue and I've been so lucky. This award is the pinnacle. It's a great honour for me, considering where I've come from. How I started to where I've got to now shows other people that you can achieve. You can achieve at Arsenal."
Speaking after receiving his award, Freddie said: “It was an honour to be invited to Westminster as part of the Premier League’s 30th Anniversary Trophy Tour to talk to MPs about our longstanding work in the community. I was also representing the 92 PL and EFL Community Foundations across the country, although this was a heavy responsibility it was a proud moment!"
"What I wasn’t expecting was this award, a total surprise!" he added. "For me, the award is actually more of a nod to this football club that had the foresight to be the first club to set up a community department back in 1985, and has since invested in and developed a workforce that reaches deep into its community to help local people cope better with the challenges they face."
Our CEO, Vinai Venkatesham, said: “Freddie and Neil are Arsenal legends and their commitment to our club over several decades is hugely appreciated by everyone in the Arsenal family. They love what they do and bring that passion with them every day. Their infectious enthusiasm and the way they champion others ahead of themselves make them worthy recipients of this fantastic award.”
We’re incredibly proud of Freddie and Neil’s contributions to Arsenal and our local area. They’re a credit to our club.
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