Mary Pacitti – Herts FA Volunteer of the Year!
Mary Pacitti… “never-ending energy, perfectionism and hunger to improve everything…” Her efforts are recognised at the County FA Awards.
At the Herts FA Grassroots Football Awards 2019, the hard work and dedication of Raiders parent, Mary Pacitti was recognised in the award for Volunteer of the Year.
Mary’s first experience of Berkhamsted Raiders was when her eldest child, Michael, joined the club as a novice footballer in the U8 age group, 5 years ago. Her infectious enthusiasm and passionate pursuit of excellence was obvious from the start. Having thrown herself in to whatever volunteering opportunity came her way, including running our Respect Campaign and being a Champion for Match Day Delegates throughout the club, proudly sporting her hi-viz jacket at every opportunity, she soon turned herself to even bigger initiatives.
With Michael’s two sisters looking to join the club, Mary took on the role of running our rapidly expanding girls section. A fierce evangelist for equality across the game, she drove up numbers, drumming up support through free taster sessions, unparalleled marketing at every school within a 10 mile radius and her joyous celebration of everything good about the beautiful game.
Mary led the pursuit of a physical home for the girls section, which they now proudly occupy at Bridgewater School, complete with storage shed, fairy lights and Mary’s handmade bunting. Known as possibly the finest venue in Hertfordshire for girls football, she has given the Raiders Girls section a genuine heart and soul.
In terms of breaking the mould, despite little knowledge of the game, Mary threw herself in to a referees’ course and in her own inimitable style started to make her mark across the pitches of Dacorum, resplendent in her old school referees outfit. Mary doesn’t like resting on her laurels, so she has subsequently taken on her FA Level 1 Football and FA Level 1 Futsal coaching certificates, becoming the driving force for the introduction and expansion of Girls Futsal at Raiders.
As if that wasn’t enough, Mary was instrumental in establishing the first Raiders tour. Five years ago, we took 60 people down to Bournemouth for a brilliant weekend away, where she proudly clutched our Fair Play trophy as a representation of everything that she cared about.
The event has mushroomed and, in 2018, she almost single-handedly ensured that 300 fine Raiders folk featuring 10 teams (girls, boys and mixed) had the most amazing experience. And yes, we won a couple of Fair Play trophies again…
Two years ago Mary insisted that we should be leading the way in running a girls only tournament. In her usual style, she took on huge chunks of the organisation and promotion of what has become a fantastically well received and successful event.
Mary sits on the club committee, banging the drum for integration, girls football, fair play, inclusivity and all of the values that Raiders as a club hold so dear. Always intelligent, occasionally abrasive, when required and seldom ignored, the club is a far better place for her belief that anything is possible and her can-do attitude.
At a rough estimate, Mary commits upwards of 20 hours a week to various football/futsal related causes. Her seemingly never-ending energy, perfectionism and hunger to improve everything have been instrumental in building a network of people who facilitate the best football experience possible for the 1,200 Raiders players that we currently have.
To say Mary is inspirational would be a huge underestimate of her worth to Raiders and Girls Football in general.