Brian Burgess has received congratulations from across Brentford FC and Brentford FC Community Trust after being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Brian, who has been involved with Brentford FC for decades, was awarded the British Empire Medal, which is granted in recognition of meritorious civil or military service, for his service to football. The citation specifically mentioned Brian’s role as a Trustee of Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust.
Brian has been a Trustee of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust charity since it became an independent trust in 2005. He also played a key role in Bees United, the Brentford Supporters’ Trust, and was Chairman for four years. Read more about the award here.
Speaking about the award, Brian said: “I am delighted and humbled to be awarded this BEM, which recognises the valuable work of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and its impact in local communities. It’s an absolute privilege to have served as a Trustee from the Trust’s inception in 2005 and to work closely with Chief Executive Lee Doyle and his team in developing such exciting projects such as the new community hub next to Brentford Community Stadium and the impressive sports hub at Gunnersbury Park.”
Brian’s passion for the Trust derives from a long-held belief that football and the local community should be fully integrated, which leads to enhanced social cohesion.
Speaking about the Trust, Brian added: “As a charity, the Community Sports Trust delivers a wide range of programmes using the power of sport to educate, motivate and inspire people from all backgrounds including vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups. The way in which the team has successfully adapted these goals to the difficult circumstances of the pandemic has been truly amazing.
“Therefore, this award is a tribute to everyone involved in the Community Sports Trust and its partners, and the efforts of so many former colleagues and volunteers at the Club and Bees United. On a personal level, I owe so much to my late wife, Sylvia, who was and always will be an inspiration.”
Brian has been actively involved with Brentford FC for most of his life, initially as a supporter. He was Chairman of Bees United when the fans completed a takeover of Brentford FC in early 2006, helping raise the funds required to refinance the Club and helped pave the way for the initial involvement of current owner Matthew Benham. Brian first started working in a voluntary capacity on the project to get Brentford FC a new stadium 2002, which came to fruition last month. He was on the Boards of Lionel Road Developments Ltd and Brentford FC (Lionel Road) Ltd until 2017.
Ian Dobie, Chair of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “On behalf of everyone at Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, I congratulate Brian on being recognised for the work he has carried out so selflessly for the Club and Trust. This is a truly well-deserved honour.”
Lee Doyle, Chief Executive of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, added: “Brian is a fantastic role model for sport supporters that want to make a positive difference to their club and its surrounding communities. It has been a remarkable journey and we are looking forward to a bright future.”
Cliff Crown, Brentford FC Chairman, said: “On behalf of the Club I would like to congratulate Brian on receiving a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Brian has given tireless service to the Club and the community over many years and this is a very well-deserved recognition of that work. As many of you know he was instrumental in delivering the land at Lionel Road on which our new stadium now stands. Our sincere and heartfelt congratulations go to Brian with our grateful thanks for all he has done and continues to do for the local community.”
Mike Power, a Brentford FC Director, has known Brian since the 1960s, when they attended the same school. He described Brian’s life as extraordinary. Mike praised the way he was able to contribute so much in a voluntary capacity and outline the work he had done.
Mike said: “Brian has served the community in a plethora of ways: Southwark Area Youth Committee; a Board member of the Blackfriars Settlement; Kaleidoscope; Community Action Network (a social enterprise organization); and Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust. Brian has a love of football and a passionate belief that football clubs are an integral part of the community. He believes that a club having a successful integration and partnership with the community in education, leisure and health is a powerful force for social cohesion.
“In his professional career he was a very successful executive in a number of engineering roles. However, his real achievement has been to marry that successful career with an extraordinary contribution to society through his role as a volunteer in a whole range of community programmes. Brian has led an extraordinary life.”
Donald Kerr, Brentford FC Vice Chairman, was also on the Bees United Board. Like Brian he is heavily involved with the Trust and the Club. He was very pleased to see Brian honoured.
Donald said: “I first met Brian many years ago, before the BU takeover of the Club, when he encouraged me to get involved with the Supporters Trust. Even at that first meeting I was struck by the clarity of his vision for a community stadium for Brentford. And the passion with which he pursued it made us all believe it might be possible. Right from the start, fundamental to that vision was that it would be part of and engaged in our local community, building on our very strong Community Sports Trust.
“In the intervening fifteen years, I have had the privilege of working with Brian on many aspects of the Club, and his enthusiasm remains undiminished. It’s extremely pleasing to see Brian’s contribution to football acknowledged in this way.”
Stewart Purvis, Chairman of Bees United, said: "Bees fans are unanimous that this is an honour and accolade that is richly deserved for a wonderful man who has given decades of service to the cause of Brentford Football Club.”
Jim Levack, a Brentford supporter who has worked as a journalist for the past few decades wrote a personal tribute to Brian. That can be seen on the website of Beesotted, the Brentford fan channel, here. Brian was one of those interviews for the Push up Brentford oral history project - read more about that here. See Brian's interview on this page.