As part of Manchester Airport’s 80th birthday celebrations, communities across Greater Manchester were gifted commemorative oak trees and time capsules to mark the mile stone.

One of the lucky recipients was Monton Sports Club in Salford. ‘Unsung hero’ and Salford resident Keith Brookes along with Salford MP Rebecca Long-Bailey planted the tree this morning on the frosty fields of the clubs grounds.

Keith Brookes, one of the club’s longest serving members, won the BBC North West Unsung Hero Award for his commitment and fundraising towards Monton Sport Club last month and was both excited for the tree to be planted but also for his big weekend ahead,

“Part of the prize of winning the North West award is that you go as a sort of guest to the BBC Sports Personality awards which is this Sunday and one of the 50 regional winners wins the national award which would be rather splendid.

“It means quite a lot to me, but I get more of a buzz from the fact Monton Sports club get a phenomenal amount of promotion out of it.

“It’s a pretty special place, so why not, we deserve opportunities like both the oak tree and the award.”

Helping Keith with the planting was Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles. She believes projects like this are important:

“It demonstrates our links to the community, it is a real community hub here at Monton Sport and it has been a fantastic asset to the community over the years and I think its great that it has been recognized.”

Asking if she had also heard about the award, she was excited for Keith:

“If he wins it will be fantastic for Salford and for Monton Sports Club but it will be good for Keith as well because hes put so much effort into this sports club over the years and providing services to the wider community.

Monton is not just a place where people come to play sports its a social club as well.”

And she believes that Keith deserves to win:

“If anybody knows him, they will know he should be right out there in front, definitely at the top of the list when it comes to winning.”

Keith has committed his time and passion to the club for 60 years, he has played major roles in securing grants and improving the clubs facilities. When Salford Now arrived, we could see the outstanding work he had done for the club and even images from when he was three-years-old on the walls of the clubhouse that remains today.

When asking Adam Jupp, head of external affairs at Manchester Airport, why Monton was a great place for the new oak tree, he said

“It’s a fantastic facility for the local area and we’re grateful they even wanted to have one of our trees on their ground”

They play a great role in providing facilities, coaching and general recreation in the area but also for people of all ages, it is really such a great hub of activity, it keeps everybody fit and healthy and even social!”

Being a friend of Keith, Adam knew of the award on Sunday,

“I don’t know anyone around here who hasn’t heard about it, I think it is richly deserved, he’s driven here at the club and we are all keeping our fingers crossed for him at the weekend.”

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