Football Barnsley Football Club chairman ‘surprised’ at being made MBE

John Dennis
John Dennis
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The former chairman of Barnsley Football Club has spoken of his surprise at being made an MBE.

John Dennis, aged 64, was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours for services to communities in Barnsley and Grimethorpe.

He said: “It was a very pleasant surprise.

“It is not something you ever think will happen to you and it was a great surprise when I found out.

“I only told my wife and we managed to keep it a secret. Part of the reason we didn’t tell anyone was because I thought it may have been a joke.”

Mr Dennis left the football club in 2002 and went on to set up charitable company Access to Sport and Recreation, with Alan Sherriff, former chair of Barnsley Building Society, in 2009.

The aim was to revitalise the former Grimethorpe Miners’ Welfare Sports and Social Club, on Brierley Road and work included rebuilding the cricket pavilion and attracting football teams back to the site.

Mr Dennis said: “We have progressed to the point that having improved the site and conditions, we are now linking up with a local football team and hopefully by next year there will be 10 teams - of different age groups and genders - playing there.”