We are delighted that the recipient of the inaugural Jacqui Forster Memorial Award is Paula Martin from Supporters' Trust at Reading (STAR).
We received a really high calibre of nominations that also included; Christine Seddon (Blackpool Supporters' Trust), Elaine Dean (Rams Trust), Emily Broome (Huddersfield Town Supporters' Association), Pauline O'Rourke (Blackpool Supporters' Trust), Nicola Hudson (Supporters Direct) and Vicki England (1874 Northwich).
Paula has taken on a number of roles throughout her 16 years' service at STAR and the panel felt that her willingness to undertake any job, often unglamorous tasks, is something that would have resonated with Jacqui.
You can read Paula's nomination below;
Paula was one of the founder members of STAR in 2002, having previously been involved in the predecessor organisation, Reading FC Supporters’ Club. In the 16 years since then she has been one of the small number of people who has worked tirelessly to make the organisation a success. Paula spent five years as Vice-Chair of STAR and followed this with a period of the same length as Chair – which coincided with Reading’s most successful time ever on the pitch under the stewardship of Steve Coppell, and she helped seize the initiative to make STAR one of the most visible, innovative and effective trusts at the time. She has always been diplomatic and measured when meeting supporters and club officials, and her professionalism and credibility played a major part in STAR being invited to regular meetings with the football club’s Senior Management Team from 2004 onwards, something which was a quantum leap improvement in improving communications between club, trust and supporters.
At one time or another with STAR she has undertaken numerous different tasks with the trust, including her current role managing the membership processes. But it’s too simplistic to label her as “past-chairman, current membership secretary” – she is, quite simply, someone who has given immeasurable hours of her time to STAR, often without thanks and in the face of supporter criticism, and without whom the Trust would not have been successful and might not, now, even exist. She epitomises volunteers across the Trust movement who give up their time freely and without complaint in the cause of something that they, like Paula, believe in passionately – supporter involvement in how their football club is run.