On Friday night before the Windsor Park League game against Crusaders, the Ronnie Morrison sponsored Merit award for the 2019/20 season was presented to long serving, official club photographer Colin McMaster.
The award had been due to be presented to Colin at the annual awards presentation evening at the Crowne plaza hotel in May but unfortunately and understandably, the eagerly anticipated event had to be cancelled, due to restrictions arising from the corona virus pandemic.
This hugely prestigious award was introduced several years ago, as a means of recognising loyal club stalwarts and previous winners have included Andy Kerr MBE, Billy Kennedy and Terry Hayes.
The beautiful engraved crystal trophy was kindly provided and sponsored by Linfield director Ronnie Morrison and it was Ronnie”s board room colleague and Linfield chairman, Roy McGivern who made the official presentation to Colin.
Roy McGivern was delighted to make the presentation : “This award is a lovely way to show appreciation to a loyal and long serving club servant and Colin McMaster is a very deserving recipient. He has served this club well and faithfully over many years and it’s great that we can give recognition to his significant contribution to the club, through the presentation of this prestigious award.
It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to present the award in the surroundings we would have wanted at a gala dinner at the Crowne plaza hotel but unfortunately, circumstances have not allowed us to do that this year.
Accepting the award Colin McMaster advised Linfieldfc.com : “I’m so surprised to receive this unexpected award at this time but I’m absolutely delighted to be recognised in this way.
I started being the club’s photographer 35 years ago and it’s a role I’ve loved throughout my long association with the club.
I love the work I do for the club but I’ve never done it seeking awards, as I’m more than happy to work away behind the scenes and behind the camera. Photography has changed dramatically over the 35 years of my time at the club and I always have to keep up with all the changes.
I just want to thank the club for awarding me this huge honour, as it really means a lot to me to be presented with this prestigious award.”
Linfield director Andy Conn added his tribute
“This award presentation was a lovely early birthday present to Colin who celebrates his special day today. I’ve known him for years and consider him to a valued, trusted and very special friend.
He’s an unassuming, modest unsung hero at the club who goes about his business quietly and without fuss, behind the scenes.
He’s totally dependable and has given so much of his life to the club he loves. He sets high standards and his professionalism in his work and all he does, is in keeping with the best traditions of this club.
Over 35 years, he has captured many wonderful memories of wonderful players and wonderful occasions through the lens of his camera.
But it’s not just the glamour occasions that Colin is there for. He’s there on a wet and windy night at less glamorous venues across the country and his work and service has been greatly appreciated by everyone at the club.
I want to thank him personally for all the commitment he has shown, for the many hours of hard work he has put in and for the many miles he has travelled following our team across the country.
He’s a worthy recipient of this lovely award which I was delighted to see introduced several years ago. When we presented the award to Colin on Friday, I could see how touched he was and how much it meant to him, so it’s great that our club has taken this opportunity to say Thank You and Well Done to our long serving unsung hero Colin McMaster, who I often refer to affectionately as Colin The Master.”