Ken's years of service earn surprise' award
PUBLISHED: 12:11 12 October 2006 | UPDATED: 14:50 12 May 2010
BASKETBALL expert Ken Charles has received the sport s highest honour in recognition of his outstanding contribution. Mr Charles, who brought basketball to Royston in 1968 when he became head teacher at Greneway School is the 49th person in the world to b
BASKETBALL expert Ken Charles has received the sport's highest honour in recognition of his outstanding contribution.
Mr Charles, who brought basketball to Royston in 1968 when he became head teacher at Greneway School is the 49th person in the world to be awarded the world organisation's Order of Merit.
He said receiving the award at the FIBA's world congress in Tokyo came as a "surprise".
"We were coming to the end of the congress and then the secretary general stood up and started talking about this man who turned out to be me," he said.
During the presentation, Patrick Baumann, secretary general, said: "I want to pay tribute to a man who for 50 years has given so much to basketball.
"It fell to him to lead and manage the development of this important children's sport across the world, in each of the five continental zones. He presided over conferences, zone mini-basketball committees, tutored the training of experienced coaches who were to be charged with cascading the philosophy and good practice of mini-basketball within their respective nations.
"Millions of children now have the opportunity to enjoy the fun of mini-basketball and when the time is right to transfer confidently to basketball at schools and clubs."
Mr Charles said he was "honoured" to receive the award.
"It was a special occassion which meant a lot to me," he said.
"There's few people in the world that have received the award so it was nice to receive it in the company of my friends from all over the world."
Mr Charles became involved with basketball when he taught at a school in Harrow at the age of 23.
It was there where he was guided by Mick Jagger's father, Joe Jagger, who was a physical education mentor.
He said: "I was just trying to fill a gap and found myself as the head of physical education."
He then joined Greneway School and brought basketball to Royston because the sport did not exist in the town at the time.
Since then, Mr Charles has contributed a great deal to the sport and has travelled to countries such as South Korea, Peru, New Zealand and China.
For 17 years he was the executive chairman and then the president of the national basketball federation, he has been the principle officer and authority on world mini-basketball for children since 1980 and has led the management and coaching of Corvus Cornix Basketball in Royston since 1970.He has also tutored teachers from 5,500 schools over the country in order to enrich their PE lessons with mini-basketball.