BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award

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The BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award[1] is an award given annually as part of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony each December. The award is given to the sportsperson who has made a substantive yet unrecognised contribution to sport. Sportspeople are nominated by the public, and must be aged 16 years or over on 1 January that year. Nominees may not put themselves forward or be nominated by a member of their immediate family. A nominee must actively help others participate in a sport at any level on a voluntary basis. The work they do must not be part of their job or take part within their places of work, and they must not be a participant in the sporting group they are helping. Previous winners of the award are ineligible for nomination. One winner is selected from each of the twelve BBC English Regions, and the three national regions: BBC Scotland, BBC Wales, and BBC Northern Ireland. A judging panel then chooses the Unsung Hero winner from the fifteen regional winners.[2]

The inaugural winner in 2003 was 63-year-old Nobby Woodcock, for "his unstinting work with grassroots football in Wales".[3] Of the fourteen recipients to date, four were chosen for their contributions to football; the other recipients contributed towards boxing, basketball, athletics, swimming, and the Special Olympics. Three of the fourteen winners have each been put forward from the BBC East Midlands and BBC South regions and two from the BBC East region. The other winners came from the BBC London, BBC North West, BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Scotland, BBC West Midlands and BBC Wales regions. The most recent award was presented in 2017 to Denise Larrad.


By year[edit]

BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award winners
Year Nationality Winner Location BBC Region Sport Rationale Note
2003  WAL Nobby Woodcock Newport, South Wales BBC Wales[4] Football for "his unstinting work with grassroots football in Wales".[5] [6]
2004  ENG Abdullah Ben-Kmayal Peckham, London BBC London[7] Football for his work with Bethwin Football Club, a club he founded and funded personally.[8] [9]
2005  ENG Trevor Collins Isle of Wight BBC South[10] Swimming for more than 25 years work in administration and coaching at the West Wight Swimming Club.[10] [11]
2006  ENG Val Hanover Oswestry, Shropshire BBC West Midlands[12] Special Olympics for spending nearly 30 years organising Special Olympics for thousands of people with learning difficulties in North Shropshire.[13] [14]
2007  ENG Margaret Simons Bicester, Oxfordshire BBC South[15] Football for over 40 years of work with Bardwell FC, a community football team that she founded in 1964.[16] [17]
2008  ENG Ben Geyser Dorchester, Dorset BBC South[18] Boxing for setting up three boxing clubs, and campaigning for a permanent home for the Dorchester Amateur Boxing Club.[19] [20]
2009  ENG Doreen Adcock Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire BBC East[21] Swimming for teaching "over 13,000 people to swim in the town over the last 35 years".[22] [22]
2010  ENG Lance Haggith Bedfordshire BBC East[23] Basketball for providing children of differing abilities coaching in basketball.[24] [25]
2011  SCO Janice Eaglesham & Ian Mirfin Scotland BBC Scotland[26] Athletics for providing coaching to disabled athletes.[27] [28]
2012  ENG Sue & Jim Houghton Leicester BBC East Midlands[29] Various for transforming a derelict Leicestershire sports ground into a popular community facility for tennis, squash, association football, bowls and dance.[30] [31]
2013  ENG Joe & Maggie Forber Manchester BBC North West Basketball recognised regionally for their hard work at the Amaechi Basketball Centre in Whalley Range. [32]
2014  ENG Jill Stidever Hinckley, Leicestershire BBC East Midlands Swimming for nearly 60 years' work helping children with special needs learn to swim. [33]
2015  NIR Damien Lindsay Belfast BBC Northern Ireland Football [34]
2016  ENG Marcellus Baz Nottingham BBC East Midlands Boxing for providing free boxing classes to hundreds of young people at his boxing school. [35]
2017  ENG Denise Larrad Hinckley and Bosworth, Leicester BBC East Midlands Various for helping the elderly get involved in sport and leading running groups encouraging people of all ages to get active.

By region[edit]

This table lists the total number of awards won by the BBC Region through which the recipient qualified for the award.

Winners by region
Nationality Number of wins
BBC East Midlands 4
BBC South 3
BBC East 2
BBC London 1
BBC North West 1
BBC Northern Ireland 1
BBC Scotland 1
BBC Wales 1
BBC West Midlands 1

By sport[edit]

This table lists the total number of awards won by the sport the recipient contributed towards.

Winners by sport
Sport of contribution Number of wins
Football 4
Swimming 3
Basketball 2
Boxing 2
Athletics 1
Special Olympics 1
Various 2



  • "Sports Personality of the Year: more winners". BBC. December 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2009.


  1. ^ "Nominate your BBC Sports Unsung Hero". BBC Press Office. BBC. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  2. ^ "Sports Personality voting & judging: Terms & conditions". BBC Sport. 18 November 2008. Archived from the original on 18 January 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  3. ^ "Nobby named unsung hero". BBC Sport. 14 December 2003. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Cooke wins BBC honour". BBC Sport. 8 December 2003. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Nobby named unsung hero". BBC Sport. 14 December 2003. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  6. ^ Norton, Charlie (15 December 2003). "Wilkinson and Redgrave scoop top BBC awards". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  7. ^ "BBC London Sports Awards – Unsung Heroes 2005". Sport England. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  8. ^ "BBC Sports Personality: The winners". BBC Sport. 12 December 2004. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  9. ^ White, Jim (13 January 2007). "Unsung hero restoring order to chaotic lives". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  10. ^ a b "Swimming coach secures BBC prize". BBC News. 12 December 2005. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  11. ^ "Let's follow Trevor's example to save our pools". Bristol Evening Post. AccessMyLibrary. 15 December 2005. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  12. ^ "Unsung hero wins". Tesco Magazine. Tesco. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Val's a winner". BBC Shropshire. 11 December 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  14. ^ Corrigan, James (11 December 2006). "Phillips is surprise winner of top Sports Personality award". The Independent. London: Independent News & Media. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  15. ^ "Unsung Hero 2008". BBC South Today. BBC. 10 September 2008. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  16. ^ "Unsung sporting heroes". BBC Sport. 9 December 2007. Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  17. ^ "Bardwell football founder named unsung hero". BBC Sport. December 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  18. ^ "BBC nomination is a 'fitting tribute' for Geyser". Dorset Echo. Newsquest. 3 December 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  19. ^ "Boxing club hero wins Unsung 2008". BBC Sport. 14 December 2008. Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  20. ^ "Geyser's accolade can inspire next generation". Dorset Echo. Newsquest. 16 December 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  21. ^ "Edwards is East Sports Personality 2009". BBC East. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  22. ^ a b "Swimming teacher Doreen Adcock wins BBC Unsung award". BBC Sport. 13 December 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  23. ^ "BBC East Sports Unsung Hero 2010 winner announced". BBC Sport. 14 December 2010. Archived from the original on 25 January 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  24. ^ "David Beckham sheds tear on getting Life prize". The Belfast Telegraph. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Basketball coach wins BBC award". BBC Sport. 19 December 2010. Archived from the original on 23 December 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  26. ^ "BBC Scotland Sports Unsung Hero 2011 winners announced". BBC News. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  27. ^ Holehouse, Matthew (22 December 2011). "Mark Cavendish named BBC Sports Personality of the Year". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  28. ^ "BBC Sport – Sports Personality of the Year 2011: Scots duo win Unsung Hero award". BBC News. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  29. ^ "Sue and Jim Houghton win East Midlands Unsung Hero Award". BBC Sport. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  30. ^ "BBC Sports Personality of the Year in pictures". MSN. 16 December 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  31. ^ "BBC Sport – Sports Personality of the Year 2012: Sports Personality: Sue & Jim Houghton win Unsung Hero Award". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  32. ^ "Basketball-loving couple earn SPOTY acclaim as Unsung Heroes". Manchester Evening News. 15 December 2013. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  33. ^ "Sports Personality: Swimming coach named Unsung Hero". BBC. 14 December 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  34. ^ "Sports Personality: Damien Lindsay wins BBC Unsung Hero". BBC. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  35. ^ "Sports Personality 2016: Marcellus Baz wins BBC Unsung Hero award". BBC. 18 December 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.