Former policeman from Hitchin up for national award after launching football coaching career

Paul Stokes and a Little Kicker

Paul Stokes and a Little Kicker - Credit: Archant

A former police officer from Hitchin has been shortlisted for a national business award after swapping the beat for a new career in football coaching for pre-school children.

Paul Stokes, from the Oakfield and Ninesprings area of the town, is one of three finalists in the ‘Micro’ business category at the British Franchise Association, 2015 HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards after scoring quickfire success with his Little Kickers company.

Looking for a better work and life balance in spending more time with his family Paul, 40, set up the business last year.

Despite no previous business or football coaching experience, he now has 27 classes across six venues, with 14 coaches teaching 300 children.

In his first year of business, Paul opened more classes than any other Little Kickers UK franchisee.

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Paul, who has lived in the town for more than 10 years after moving from London, said: “I was delighted to be nominated for the British Franchisee, 2015 HSBC Franchise Awards. Making it to the finals was fantastic.

“I haven’t done it all myself. I’d like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication shown by all my coaches, the advice and encouragement given by my fellow Little Kickers franchisees, and of course the support and guidance from head office.

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“Franchising has changed my life for the better in many ways, and my story shows that if you pick the right franchise, work hard, and be ambitious, then there are no limits to what you can achieve.

“I run classes on a Saturday and a Sunday in Hitchin for boys and girls aged 18 months to the age of seven. You can find times, venues, and further details on my website which is”

Winners will be announced at a black tie dinner on October 1.

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