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Michael Hendersonrecieves Coach of the Year award from Rugby World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward
2:39pm Wednesday 13th February 2013 in Sport
World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio is used to taking centre stage at Twickenham but on Monday he stepped aside to give a Barnet coach his time in the spotlight.
The home of English rugby was the scene for the inaugural Dallaglio Foundation Rugby for Change awards, recognising the hard work and achievements of the young people, teachers, schools and coaches involved in the programme’s first year as they bid to engage and empower young people at risk through the power of sport.
And one of those celebrated on Monday night was 41-year-old Michael Henderson who walked away with the Coach of the Year award, presented by Rugby World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward, alongside colleague Alex Basson
Former Whitefield Comprehensive School pupil Henderson has shown passionate and commitment in his role as development officer at Rugby for Change since it began, turning his life around after spending 24 years in prison.
All of this led to the Henderson walking away with one of the first-ever Dallaglio Foundation Rugby for Change awards and he admitted the gong would take pride of place in his home.
“I am really pleased without a doubt,” Henderson said. “I work hard with Alex on a daily basis and I know he complements my coaching and I would hope it is reciprocal and I complement his coaching.
“You tell me to go right, I'm going left, you tell me to walk I am going to run. When I was 14 I told my mum I am a big man. And this is something I'm not proud of but I said to her ‘mum, I’m a thief. I was proud of it.
“My life was full of criminality and rugby has given me that sense of purpose. I am hoping it doesn't take the young people I work with as long as it took me to learn from my mistakes.
“I am a very stubborn person and it took me a number of years until I finally gave up and said why don't you just give up and make a choice for yourself. To work with young people now means a lot to me.
“This is the first thing I have ever won and it is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.”
Dallaglio was on hand to lead the plaudits for Henderson, and the former England captain and British & Irish Lion believes this is just the beginning of a bright future for the coach.
“It has been an amazing first year for the Dallaglio Foundation Rugby for Change awards and it has been a real journey for us,” Dallaglio said.
“We have come so far in 12 months and the same can be said about Michael who has put in a lot of hard work, time and dedication and he truly deserves this award.
“This is just the start for Rugby for Change after our first year and I am sure this is just the start of bigger and better things for Michael too.”
Dallaglio Foundation Rugby for Change uses the sport and its core values to empower individuals to make positive choices, for more information www.dallagliofoundation.com