The Revd Canon Andrew Vaughan has received a Special Recognition Award from Lincoln City Football Club to acknowledge his valued contribution as Club Chaplain. The club surprised Andrew at its end-of-season awards evening at the Lincolnshire Showground on Sunday evening (5th May 2019), which followed an open-top bus tour of the city with the League Two trophy.

Andrew, who is Priest in Charge of the benefice of Swinderby, has been supporting the players, management and staff across the football club since the early 2000s, and he has been Club Chaplain since 2002. In addition to supporting players and staff through some difficult times, he has also hosted annual memorials for the victims of the Valley Parade disaster, which occurred in Bradford in 1985, and an on-field memorial service for former manager Keith Alexander.

As part of the presentation, the club stated that Andrew has gone ‘above and beyond’ to show care and compassion to others during the difficult times, including when the club was relegated from the Football League and some staff faced the prospect of redundancy. In more recent years the club has enjoyed great success, including promotions and a cup final win at Wembley, and Andrew continues to offer pastoral care while also serving as a matchday photographer, capturing some superb images during this historic era for the club.

Bishop Christopher, whose grandfather, Frederick Lowson, played for the club, was pleased to offer the following words as part of this special surprise for Andrew at the awards evening: “It is heartening but not surprising to hear of Andrew’s commitment to Lincoln City – not just in the years when things are going well but in the difficult times with the willingness to support the entire community. This is a typical example of Andrew’s quiet, gentle and caring ministry. We in the diocese are very proud of all that he has done. The claim by Diego Maradona that ‘football isn’t a game, nor a sport; it’s a religion’ is well lived out by Andrew.”

In collecting his award, which was sponsored by Lincolnshire Co-operative, Andrew said: “I’m really honoured that my role as Club Chaplain has been recognised in this very humbling way. And to hear the nice comments from those involved in the club. 

A football club, like a local church, brings so many people together with a common cause. It is such a privilege to look at ways of making those links between faith and sport. 

Lincoln City have been on a tremendous journey, sometimes sad, but in recent years full of excitement. Im proud to be there as a gentle prayerful colleague in both those times.”

Pictured below: Lincolnshire Co-operative’s Sam Turner and long-time club volunteer Chris Ashton present Andrew Vaughan with his Special Recognition Award (photograph courtesy of Lincoln City FC). A gallery from the evening is available on the club’s website.

The Parish Church of All Saints, Swinderby.