National honour for Toon coach

Walter Innes has been given a British Citizen Award for his services to the community
Walter Innes has been given a British Citizen Award for his services to the community

A caring coach from Peterhead who has committed the past two decades to helping budding young footballers has been recognised with a national honour.

Walter Innes has been given a British Citizen Award for his services to the community.

Walter, 53, has given up almost every Monday night for the past 22 years to coach budding footballers in Peterhead and the surrounding areas at his Hexagon Football Coaching club, missing just five sessions in that time.

Passionate and dedicated to football, he is now teaching the children of some of the dads he originally taught many years ago.

And while the sessions can at times be frustrating due to the age group spanning from five to 12 years old, Walter never loses his patience or says a bad word about his group.

Walter not only teaches the children football skills, but life skills too as he ensures that no child is left out and mixes up the group to encourage less confident children to fully participate.

He has helped many children with disabilities to participate in the sport throughout the years, including children with down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and Asperger’s.

Hexagons has also raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years.

Nearly every member of Peterhead Boys Club has been trained by Hexagons, and all Peterhead football teams are doing extremely well as a result of the passing football that Walter has instilled in them from a young age.

Walter is well known in the community and also helps his wife, Marion, with various fundraising events locally.

He has also been a scout for Aberdeen football club for many years and is a SFA qualified coach.

Walter, is one of 36 medallists who will be honoured at a prestigious ceremony on Thursday, January 25 at the Palace of Westminster.

Walter said: “I was very surprised and delighted to have been nominated as publicity and awards are not what I’m about.

“If someone had said to me all those years ago that I would still be doing this 22 years later, I wouldn’t have believed them but I’ve loved every minute of it.

“The reason Hexagon has been such a success is the standard of coaches we have had over the last 24 years and I would like to thank them all for the help they have given me.”

Walter was nominated for a BCA by his friend Ross Mann, who said: “Walter is genuinely the most patient man I have ever met, with parents, coaches and of course with the children. He works full time, rushes home, misses his supper and goes straight to the community hall to set up for the night, and without a doubt he will always be the first coach there. Personally, he has had a big impact upon my life, as he has coached me as a player, and developed me as a person.”