GREAT Bradfords Football Club have celebrated a milestone anniversary in spectacular fashion by picking up the prestigious Essex FA Charter Standard Club of the Year award.

And the Braintree club have dedicated it to one of their founders - Maureen Baker - in memory of her and everything she achieved for them over 38 years as their secretary.

The award has come as a fitting conclusion at the end of Great Bradfords' 40th anniversary season and one that has seen silverware return to them for the first time in a decade.

Chairman Sharon Mills said: “As chairman, you sometimes look at what is next for a grassroots club and how we can progress for the benefit of all our players and coaches, but this award shows that we are committed to doing that.

"I am so proud and need to thank our incredible committee, managers, supporters, players and everyone involved.

"Great Bradfords FC never fails to amaze me.”

The club was nominated for Essex Charter Standard Club of the Year to the Essex FA, who made the award recognising Great Bradfords' commitment to progression, development and enjoyment as well as their financial and administrative capabilities and safeguarding of players.

The club has held the Charter Standard mark since 2003, but this is the first time they have been named as Club of the Year.

As well as it coming at the end of a landmark season for them, club secretary Charlie Mills was delighted that it allowed them to honour the memory of founder Maureen Baker, who died in 2015.

Great Bradfords had seen years of success, with players entering academies at Ipswich Town and Colchester United, as well as claiming league titles across Essex as thousands of players had worn the club's colours over the years.

But when Maureen passed away, they were faced with an uncertain future, with just three teams running.

Since then, though - in Maureen’s honour - the committee has grown and the club now has 14 teams, including men’s and girls' sides.

Charlie Mills added: “I could not be prouder of the club; the players are what this is all about but we have an incredible team to ensure they get the best from their football.

"I can’t not mention Maureen.

"This (award) is for her - five years nearly and we hope she would be proud.”

The Essex FA award has capped a superb season for Great Bradfords on the pitch when and all of their youth teams showed some excellent development.

Their under-13 Rockets delivered silverware by winning the Colchester and District Youth League B division, while the men’s reserves side were runners-up in the Braintree and North Essex Sunday League's Invitation Trophy.

And those successes are seeing Great Bradfords now looking to expand.

Charlie Mills added: "As a club we play over three venues at the moment so we are looking currently for a larger area to house the whole club and call home.

"As we look to continue to grow the club, our treasurer Michaela Shearer, and club development secretary, Jenna Bibby, are doing a lot of hard work to find land and ensure we are financially stable to be able to find this sort of home."

If anyone is interested in joining or sponsoring the club, they can contact Charlie Mills on 07880 499520.