Founder of Greenhouse Sports receives an OBE
This Autumn, Michael de Giorgio received his OBE from Prince William at Buckingham Palace in recognition of all the work Greenhouse Sports has done over the past 15 years.
Prince William greeted Mike with the words, “hello Michael – congratulations and much deserved,” as he pinned the OBE medal on Mike’s suit. “You have created something very special.” Prince William and Mike went on to discuss the Royal Foundation launching a pioneering apprenticeship programme, Coach Core, with Greenhouse Sports five years ago and both enjoyed the thought that it has been so successful.
We caught up with Mike on the day to see how he felt about being honoured with an OBE.
Why did you start Greenhouse Sports?
“I think I could say that playing rugby and football in my teenage years kept me well occupied and out of trouble. Sport taught me lessons for life and I wanted more young people to have the opportunities I had.”
What are your fondest memories of Greenhouse Sports since you founded it?
“How basic it all was to begin with. It was just a couple of coaches and some family and friends running a two-week pilot programme which kicked it all off.
I feel incredibly proud of the coaches and young people enjoying and gaining so much from sport at Greenhouse Sports. The way some of them turned their difficult lives around inspired me to work very hard to expand Greenhouse Sports and to give those opportunities to thousands more. It has been a real team effort.
The incredible enthusiasm so many of our supporters have for Greenhouse Sports has astonished me, too. Many have been with us for years and many have gone to great lengths to support us with time, skills and of course, money.”
What does the award of the OBE mean to you?
“The award recognises all the good work Greenhouse Sports has done over the last 15 years. It has been granted to me but belongs to everybody who has been involved in the charity: the thousands of people that have participated both as coaches and administrative staff and trustees, as well as all the young people. The award belongs to all the team past and present.
Many people have contacted me to congratulate me on the OBE and I am very grateful for that, especially as more people get to know about Greenhouse Sports and all its amazing work.”