Aiden Stone is Mansfield Town Football in the Community’s champion for this season
The 21-yearoOld has been given the annual award for his dedication towards supporting Football in the Community in a number of projects over the last 18 months, predominantly championing a healthy eating campaign with partner school Wynndale Primary School.
The young keeper collected his award at the RH Academy following a recent training session and said: “It feels great to receive the award, it’s something that I’ve always felt passionate about – connecting us professional footballers to the community through various projects, and trying to help them have a greater understanding in different aspects of life.
“It’s been difficult without fans this year, you don’t get the same buzz when you’re out on the pitch and I’m sure many feel the same way.
"I’ve always been a player who wants to have that connection with the younger fans and make their experience on match days be the best it can be – by doing these community projects, I hope that has gone some way to help.”
Aidan, who has been a mainstay between the sticks for Nigel Clough’s side this season, also provided support for participants through lockdown in helping Football in the Community design healthy eating challenges.
He added “Healthy eating is something I’ve been really passionate about since we entered the first lockdown, I think it’s important for younger children especially to understand what it takes to make it in the professional game.
“This project has allowed me to emphasises that point that is not all about that – it’s more about the fine marginal gains you have off of the pitch that can go a long way into how you perform when on it, or in some of the children’s case, within the classroom to have better focus and energy for learning”
Community Manager Gary Shaw added: “Aidan has been a fantastic role model for us this season and we’re very thankful for all the time and dedication he has given, particularly on the healthy eating project which has been very well received.
“A lot of our visits this season have been virtual, but both Aidan and the rest of the squad who have given their time have really understood the importance of staying connected with supporters.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the Football club for their continued support of Community activities.”
The PFA Community champion award is awarded at the conclusion of every season to a player who has gone above and beyond to make a difference within their community setting.
Stone becomes the latest recipient of the award – following the likes of Ryan Sweeney, Alistair Smith, Jamie McGuire, Paul Anderson and Rhys Bennett in recent seasons.