A husband and wife from Newtown have been officially recognised with an award for the first time for their decades of volunteer work running a football league in Montgomeryshire.

'Mr Football' Bernie Jones and his wife Susan received an award from the former High Sheriff of Powys Tom Jones for "enhancing the life of the community".

Bernie, a well-known figure in Welsh football, was the backbone of the JT Hughes Montgomeryshire Amateur Football League which he played, refereed and ran until he sadly died in 2021.

"It was his baby," Susan said. "He did a huge amount of work for it. He was a very highly respected gentleman. This is the first time we’ve had an official recognition for his services over 60 years.

"I was bit tearful, as you could imagine, when I was told about the award. It’s a pity he’s not here to see it. The league has set up a memorial cup in his honour and it’s played every year and all the proceeds go to the Newtown Hospital League of Friends where he was for months following a stroke."

County Times: Susan Jones holds the framed certificate from the High Sheriff of Powys


The well-respected former headteacher and teacher at eight schools across Montgomeryshire had been involved in football from age 13 to when he died aged 73. Originally from Penybontfawr, Bernie would hitchhike home every weekend from teaching college in Newport, South Wales to play in the league.

Susan said: "He was a character, he really was. He was football through and through he was a unique character. He was an absolute star. Sport was his life. He was generous, friendly, he was everybody’s friend. He was amazing right to the very end. He was just a fighter through and through.

"Everybody knew him. You could go to town for five minutes and he'd be there for three hours talking to everybody.

County Times:

"You could speak to anyone in the footballing world and they would know Bernie Jones.

"What he wanted was young lads to go out on a Saturday afternoon to play football and get off the streets. He wanted football for football’s sake. He served on the Central Wales Football Association as referees’ officer and he used to appoint referees. He started up and ran the ladies league, and he also ran the Sunday league, so he was Mr Football.

"Bernie taught 30 out of the 40 referees in Central Wales. I think probably his greatest success is a lad called Rob Jenkins from Guilsfield who started refereeing with Bernie as a teenager and he’s now refereeing European football with FIFA.

"It was done for the love of the game, nothing else. That’s what it was.

"This certificate is really for him, not for me.

"He was such a huge character, and he is very sorely missed, not just by us his daughters and me, but by the whole community.

"I’m trying to carry on what he left and to make sure the league carries on. The support we’ve had has been amazing."