A GLUTTON for punishment, a necessary evil and someone we love to hate - Ian "Jock" Hotchkies has been labelled many unflattering things, but is now being hailed as one of York's unsung heroes.

Ian has been nominated for The Press's Community Pride awards as a "Sporting Hero" for his years of dedication to football in York.

Through his devoted service as a referee, he has given thousands of players the chance to get on the field, and as well as his regular appearances on the football field Ian has served in time-consuming roles in the York Referees' Association and York Minor League.

His dedication to the sport has been so impressive that not one but three people have come forward to nominate him for the award.

Fellow referee Graham Bradbury, a life member of York Referee's Association, has praised Ian's dedication to "the loneliest job in the world" and his tributes have been echoed by York Minor League committee member and past chairman of the Referees' Association Anthony Thornton, the league's Honorary Secretary Dave Wilson.

Soon after he started out as a referee in 1973, Ian joined the committee of York Referee's Association and since 2008 has been both secretary and president of the association.

Not content with that, Ian has also been Chairman of York Minor League since 1994, and finds time to represent North Riding County FA as an assessor and mentor, and help other referees develop their skills.

Anthony Thornton described Ian as a "credit to the city of York" and a very deserving "Sporting Hero."

He added: "Ian has spent many years giving freely of his time to allow many thousands of players and hundreds of referees to pursue their love of football.

"The Referees’ Association has a motto 'Service before self' which I feel sums Ian up perfectly."

The Sporting Hero is one of 13 categories in this year's Community Pride awards, and is sponsored by York Racecourse.

The awards recognise the individuals and groups whose dedicated service and inspirations contributions to life in the city make York a better place.

Run in conjunction with the City of York Council, they end with a spectacular event at the racecourse to honour all the shortlisted nominees in October.

If you know somebody who deserves recognition for their work in York, nominate them by visiting www.thepress.co.uk/pride/ before Friday, July 18.