CHICKERELL United club stalwart Dave Drage, who won the Outstanding Contribution to Community Football award in Dorset, now has the chance to win the national people’s award – voted for by the public.

After being recognised for 17 years of outstanding work with the Chickens, Drage will join eight other regional winners from across England who have been shortlisted for this year’s award.

Speaking about the nomination, Drage told Echosport: “I know it is an individual award but I just like working with the kids and everyone at the club.

“Like any hobby you do it because you love it and I just hope the kids and the club benefit as well.”

On behalf of the FA, England hero Sir Geoff Hurst added: “People like Dave are vital to the game and it is thanks to their ongoing commitment that grassroots football continues to thrive in so many communities.

“I hope the people of Dorset demonstrate their thanks by voting for Dave, recognising that he is an exceptional part of their local community.”

Drage joined Chickerell in 1996 and his vision and determination helped accelerate the team into the Dorset Premier League after winning the Dorset Senior League for the second season in a row.

He was integral in setting up Chickerell United Youth FC and coaches youngsters several nights a week as well as organising the annual Chickerell United Youth Tournament.

When he is not coaching young players or managing his own team, Drage can be found refereeing other matches for the club.

He is integral in raising funds for both the seniors and youth teams, lending a hand at race nights, bingo calling and arranging sponsored walks.

Voting for the award is now open online at game and if Drage accumulates the most votes he will be announced as the winner at the 2014 Community Awards ceremony at Wembley on Sunday, August 10.