A FOOTBALL coach who despite batting cancer has continued to grow the junior football league which he founded has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award.

Gavin Logan, 58, started the Barnsley and District Junior Football League in September 2015 with just 40 teams from 21 clubs.

There are now 138 local teams in the flourishing league.

“When I was a kid myself, my passion was football, and I used to play at a good level until I picked up an injury,” said Gavin.

“As I began to start a family, I wanted my kids to have a safe environment and get them off computer games and out of their bedrooms.”

After coaching at a junior level, Gavin noticed that there wasn’t a Barnsley dedicated junior league.

Gavin, who is currently based at Athersley Recreation, said: “I saw a gap and spoke to people I knew that were involved in clubs to try to get something off the ground.

“In July 2015, I went to the county FA with a portfolio of all the work I’d done over the past six to eight months on rules and guidelines to follow. That September, the league began.”

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Initially, the league included under sevens and under eights only, but Gavin knew it had the potential to progress.

By the end of the second season, the league had expanded to include under nines and under tens.

“It’s all about the well-being of the local kids,” added Gavin.

“Not only are they being active, but they are making friends, which widens their social network. It also gets the parents out doing something productive, the family are outside in the fresh air and being active.

“It’s the right way to do things.”

Gavin has achieved FA charter status for the league and is looking to introduce a junior girls’ league, after hosting a girls’ gala earlier in the year.

“We’ve just entered our fifth season, and it’s gone from strength to strength.

“We have expanded to an under U14 section, which is great.

“I think we’re one of the only leagues that, hand on heart, are doing it for the right reasons, which is encouraging both young boys and girls to enjoy a game of football.”

Last year, Gavin was diagnosed with cancer and has had to undergo numerous operations, but has battled through thanks to the support of the league.

“The league is my sanity because I can forget about everything. It’s my escape,” he said.

“I am currently continuing with my treatment, but I’m a fighter and I won’t let anything beat me.

“It’s great to be nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award.

“It’s not about awards, but it is amazing to show some of the great work the league does with young players around Barnsley.”