Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale MBE picked up the prestigious Lifetime Role Model Award at the Football Is More Conference in Switzerland.
The Deputy CEO of Everton Football Club and Executive Chair of Everton in the Community (EitC) scooped the accolade, which honours ‘personalities for their extraordinary social commitment and engagement’.
EitC, Everton’s official charity, has grown into one of the most respected, sporting charities in the UK under Professor Barrett-Baxendale’s stewardship, attracting international recognition for its pioneering initiatives and programmes – schemes which, collectively, have earned more than 90 local national and international awards.
The conference, held in Brunnen, Switzerland, highlighted the excellent social achievements of clubs, charities and role models, as well as showcasing individual devotion to enhancing social commitment and inclusion. Included within the format of the conference was a gala dinner and award ceremony to honour role models in the game.
Barrett-Baxendale only became the second person in the history of the internationally-recognised gathering to pick up the award. The previous recipient, Jakob ‘Kobi’ Kuhn, was on hand alongside Prince Constantin of Liechtenstein to present the accolade at a conference hall packed with delegates from all over the world.
After receiving the accolade she said: “I’m truly honoured to be here to pick up this award. Although this is a ‘Lifetime Role Model Award’, I am picking this up on behalf of our amazing staff, army of volunteers and more importantly, all of the Everton in the Community participants.
“At Everton, our role models go beyond famous players who pull on a Blue shirt – it’s about everybody who comes to work at Everton and Everton in the Community, everyone has the chance to be a role model and it’s about setting the right examples.
“Everton and Everton in the Community typify the ‘Football is More’ ethos. The Club’s official charity is recognised all over the world as being a pioneering and life-saving charity and I am constantly humbled by some of the amazing work we do. We are blessed that we have so many people at the Club who are role models and I have the pleasure of working alongside them every day.
“Just in the short time I have been at the conference I have shared some inspirational stories with our delegates as well as some of our best practice and knowledge. Other organisations are keen to understand more about what we have achieved in our community over the past 30 years.
“This proud accolade will sit alongside some of our other international achievements.”