A SPORTS coach who trained thousands of youngsters has been given an MBE for his voluntary services to grassroots football.

Denzil Hart, aged 54, of Bury, was given the plaudit for being heavily involved in community coaching for three decades.

Born in St Kitts in 1957, Mr Hart came to the UK as a teenager after leaving college on the island with motor mechanic qualifications.

The forward played for Hyde United and Ashton United in 1981 and joined Prestwich Heys two years later, helping them to a third-place finish in their first ever North West Counties League season before moving on to Mossley FC.

Mr Hart went on to manage Colne FC when it formed after the demise of Dynamoes in 1996 and stayed there until 2000.

He also managed teams at Macclesfield Town Centre of Excellence and in the youth set-up at Manchester United.

Colne FC chairman, Dave Blacklock, expressed his happiness for Mr Hart’s honour.

He said: “It is fantastic. I am really delighted for him. He is a very hard working and enthusiastic man who always puts in no less than 100 per cent.”

In the same year he took the Colne hotseat, Mr Hart started Warth Fold and Redvales Community Sport Club in Redvales Road, Bury.

It continues to provide free coaching in football, rounders and netball to children aged five to 11.

His wife and fellow club volunteer, Kathryn Hart, said: “Denzil has excelled in the area of mentoring and guiding young children, youths and adults into positive pathways, using sport as the tool for over 30 years.

“His leadership qualities have earned him the respect of parents, teachers and councillors. Denzil has affected many people in a positive way over the years.”

Mr Hart said: “This is a great honour. I wish to thank family, friends and associates for their support and good wishes.”

Mr Hart will be presented with his MBE medal in a ceremony at St James’s Palace later this year.

l TWO former Bury Council chief executives have also been honoured. Mark Sanders was given an OBE and his predecessor Dennis Taylor was awarded an MBE.

Born in the North East, Mr Taylor, aged 62, embarked on a career in local government in Sunderland and Middlesbrough before moving to Manchester in 1986.

He became Bury Council’s chief executive in 1997 and still lives in Bury today.

After leaving the position in 2001, Mr Taylor became chief executive of the Lancashire Economic Partnership. In that role, he managed an £800 million budget, spent on a wide range of projects designed to boost employment and trade in the county.

Mr Taylor was given the MBE for services to local government and the community of Lancashire.

He is currently the managing director of DETA Associates, which is an environmental consultancy firm in Bury. He is patron trustee of Bury and Bolton Groundwork Trust, and in his spare time, is a member of Bury Golf Club.

Mr Sanders became Bury Council’s chief executive in 2001 when Mr Taylor stepped down.

He was awarded the OBE for his lifetime commitment to local government.

Mr Sanders was previously assistant chief executive of Oldham Council, and was also elected to the National Council of the Learning and Skills Council, which works to support young people aged 14 to 19.

Mike Kelly, who took over as chief executive at Bury following Mr Sanders’ retirement in March this year, said: “Mark was nominated for this award due to his commitment and dedication, not only to the people of Bury during his time as chief executive here, but his work across local government at a local, regional and national level.

“It is a great achievement and Mark should be very proud that his work has been recognised in this way.”