DISABILITY Development Officer Ajay Gill was in for an exciting surprise at The Albion Foundation's recent Disability Awards as he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 26 year-old began his journey at the Foundation as a participant on a Premier League Kicks programme before starting to volunteer for the charity and then securing a contracted role as a Disability Coach.
With Ajay becoming a popular figure with participants at the Foundation's sessions, he stepped up into the role of a Disability Development Officer in September, a role that Paul Glover, Head of Disability at the Foundation, believes he has thrived in.
"He's a friend to everyone," he said.
"He's just got that manner about him that the participants really like to get on with him and really just enjoy seeing him.
"He's a bit of a celebrity at the Portway amongst the participants when he's there. He's very relaxed in the way he does things and I think the participants like that.
"We are very grateful to have someone like Ajay, with his manner and his enthusiasm for the job, he's an integral part of the team."
Brandon Hickman, a participant at the Foundation's pan disability sessions paid tribute to the impact that Ajay has had on his life.
"I'm really thankful I met Ajay. Before I knew Ajay, I put myself down," he said.
"Since I've been meeting Ajay my life has been going up.
"He got me a job - he means a lot to me."
It wasn't just Brandon that was thankful for Ajay's influence, with Steven Hull grateful for everything that the Disability Development Officer has done for him.
"He's a nice person," said Steven.
"He treats everyone the same and if you're down he picks you up.
"He helps me out, he encouraged me to come football."
To find about more about the Foundation's Disability Department, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.