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Croydon man wins coach of the year at Dallaglio Foundation Rugby for Change awards

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WORLD Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio is used to taking centre stage at Twickenham but last week he stepped aside to give a Croydon coach his time in the spotlight.

The home of English rugby was the scene for the inaugural Dallaglio Foundation Rugby for Change awards, recognising the hard work and achievements of the young people, teachers, schools and coaches involved in the programme's first year as they bid to engage and empower young people at risk through the power of sport.

And one of those celebrated was 41-year-old Michael Henderson, who walked away with the coach of the year award, presented by Rugby World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward, alongside colleague Alex Basson.

Henderson has shown passion and commitment in his role as development officer at Rugby for Change since it began, turning his life around after spending 24 years in prison.

All of this led to Henderson walking away with one of the first ever Dallaglio Foundation Rugby for Change awards and he admitted the gong would take pride of place in his home.

"I am really pleased," Henderson said. "I work hard with Alex on a daily basis and I know he complements my coaching and I would hope it is reciprocal and I complement his coaching.

"You tell me to go right, I'm going left, you tell me to walk I am going to run. When I was 14 I told my mum I am a big man. And this is something I'm not proud of but I said to her 'mum, I'm a thief'. I was proud of it.

"My life was full of criminality and rugby has given me that sense of purpose. I am hoping it doesn't take the young people I work with as long as it took me to learn from my mistakes.

"I am a very stubborn person and it took me a number of years until I finally gave up and said 'why don't you just give up and make a choice for yourself'. To work with young people now means a lot to me.

"This is the first thing I have ever won and it is something I will treasure for the rest of my life."

Dallaglio was on hand to lead the plaudits for Henderson, and the former England captain and British & Irish Lion believes that Henderson truly deserves the award for the amount of hard work, time and dedication he has put in.

He said he believed it was just the start of bigger and better things for Henderson and Rugby for Change too. Dallaglio Foundation Rugby for Change uses the sport and its core values to empower individuals to make positive choices.

Find out more at www.dallagliofoundation.com

Croydon man wins coach of the year at Dallaglio Foundation Rugby for Change awards


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