ONE man’s love of football led to him dedicating years of service to sports provision in the district.

Alex Waters has been a key player behind the scenes since the 1960s - providing opportunities for youngsters as well as adults - and even enabling them to meet some of their sporting heroes.

But despite receiving an MBE in recognition of his contribution to youth sport in 2013, Alex insisted that all of his efforts were for the people of his beloved Tyne Valley.

Alex, who is recovering at home in Hexham after a brief spell in hospital, is the latest recipient of our bouquet of the week, which recognises the efforts of those who go above and beyond in their communities.

“I was born into a working class household which was full of love,” said Alex. “The values and principles I learned as a child have stuck with me ever since, and it was such a proud moment when I met the Queen.

“My father, also called Alex, was my hero, and I dearly wish my parents had seen me receive the MBE.”

The accolade came out of the blue for the businessman, who ran Tyne Valley Insurance at offices in Hexham, Prudhoe, Newcastle and South Shields for five decades, after setting up in business in 1967.

A young Alex sponsored Prudhoe Town FC before taking a more advanced role, and oversaw the development of new facilities at the ground.

He also played a vital role in the success of Tynedale Sports Council, now known as Sport Tynedale, which hosts annual sports awards and provides funding opportunities for individuals and clubs.

He said: “Ian Turner, a founding member, was a giant of a man. He was a genius when it came to statistics and was a man of great integrity.”

Supported by other key members, including former Hexham Courant deputy editor Brian Tilley, the sports council went on to attract star guest speakers, including Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, and other Newcastle United greats, which inspired the youngsters.

Alex has also been heavily involved with the Tynedale Mini Soccer League for decades, and said he was always proud of the way local youngsters conducted themselves and represented the district.