Newham charity’s Chris is community coach of the year

Chris Facey was presented with the trophy by Princess Anne Picture: Jeff Holmes

Chris Facey was presented with the trophy by Princess Anne Picture: Jeff Holmes - Credit: JEFF HOLMES/JSHPIX.CO 07802 6100

A basketball coach who works with a charity steering young people away from crime has been crowned the best in the country.

Chris Facey, known for his work with Newham All Star Sports Academy, was named Community Coach of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards 2014. He was presented with his trophy by Princess Anne at a glittering event held in Glasgow recently.

He later returned to the stage and was given a standing ovation as he picked up a special runner-up trophy in the overall Coach of Year category.

The awards are the country’s most prestigious for the coaching industry and Chris, whose first name is Kelvin, although he is universally known as Coach Chris, was both shocked and humbled to be recognised by his peers.

He said: “I didn’t think I was anywhere close to winning the award. They called out my name and I didn’t hear it really. It was called out two or three times and I said: ‘Me?’ I was very emotional. I don’t know how I held myself together.

“As a community coach you have to work hard like any young man but you also have got to have some kind of passion and just love what you do. There is not too much money in being a community sports coach but passion is what you need to teach.

He was particularly pleased to meet Princess Anne. He said: “I couldn’t have imagined ever having a conversation with her, but she gave me this amazing smile and I felt like I had known her from yesterday. She just asked me to keep pushing myself.”

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NASSSA was chosen as charity of the year in June because of the impact that its Carry A Basketball Not A Blade (CABNAB) initiative has had on young people and the local community in east London.