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Last Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Spotlight on unsung heroes

Val Hanover receives her award from Alan Shearer and Owen Hargreaves
Val received her award from Alan Shearer and Owen Hargreaves
A special television documentary is shining the spotlight on some of sport's lesser-known stars.

The 15 regional winners of the Unsung Hero honour, given as part of the BBC Sports Personality awards, are featured in the programme.

A 30-minute show, which is being broadcast on the Community Channel on Monday, it was made by BBC trainees on the Connect and Create scheme who captured the stories of all the regional winners.

Each year, the award recognises people who dedicate their lives to promoting sport in their communities.

Documentary director Archie Kalyana, said: "It's a humbling experience working with people who contribute to grassroot sports, developing the champions of the future.

"For us it's an absolute privilege to work with the 15 heroes who have been nominated for such a prestigious and worthwhile award."

The overall 2006 winner Val Hanover, from Shropshire, was honoured for helping children with learning difficulties take part in sport through the Special Olympics.

  • You can watch the documentary on the Community Channel at 1100, 1700 and 2330 BST on Monday.


    Val Hanover. Special Olympics organiser (Shropshire).
    Has been running the Special Olympics, for people with learning difficulties, since 1978.

    She says: "Sporting activities help with co-ordination, making new friends and team building. Volunteering is an absolutely marvellous experience, and one of my proudest moments was when two of our athletes were selected to represent Great Britain in the World Games in Shanghai."

    Edward Wood. Rugby union coach (Durham).
    Devoted his life to the sport. Coached two great 'Wills' of English rugby union history - former captain Will Carling and World Cup winner Will Greenwood.

    He says: "You're enriching the lives of young people and their futures, giving them pleasure and encouraging them to take pride and be part of the community. I hope the effect I've had is to build their confidence."

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    Peter Quinney. Trampolining Instructor (Wiltshire).
    Former British trampolining champion, has helped make the Olympic sport accessible to people of all abilities at the Pewsey Vale Flyers club, including quadraplegics who relish escaping the confines of a wheelchair.

    "I get a lump in my throat just thinking about seeing the pleasure in their eyes. Our club motto is: 'never say 'can't'."

    Tanvir Akram. Football and cricket coach (Derby).
    Started a football team in Normington, which has since expanded to five sides.

    "Our job is to help children overcome adversity and make something of their lives and hopefully I'm contributing to that."

    Jim Hodge. Football coach (Ayrshire).
    Stopped playing professionally after a serious injury, and his wife then encouraged him to start up a local youth team, which has since branched out to include an outdoor activity centre.

    "I want to keep local kids fit, active and healthy and my proudest moment is when they get to play on a really good football pitch."

    Steven Cole. Boxing coach (Wiltshire).
    A boxer since the age of eight, he trains boys at Penhill Boxing Club and hopes one of them can follow in the footsteps of Swindon's first ABA champion Jamie Cox, who captained the English team.

    "I strive to give the lads something to aim for and boxing is a good sport and also helps to keep them out of trouble. "I'm motivated by the thought of one day having a champion, although everyone is equally important."

    Sandra Skinner. Football coach (Barnet).
    Has helped Barnet's under-12 football team gain promotion two years running, and win a league sportsmanship award. She gives the players lifts to games and training.

    "We don't let that financial difficulties get in the way for anyone. Each one of them deserves a chance."

    Wally Owst. Football coach (Hull).
    Involved in organising the Hull Sunday Football League - made up of 156 teams - for more than 40 years. Won an FA award for his dedication.

    "The greatest pleasure I get out of football is on Sundays where every park and pitch in Hull has a football match played on it."

    Barbara Jones. Swimming coach. (Lancashire).
    Taught to swim by Loved swimming since early childhood when her father taught her to swim in the River Ribble, she coaches for Clitheroe & District Amateur Swimming Association.

    "It is incredibly rewarding and I encourage anyone thinking of volunteering to get involved.

    "I love to see children become excellent swimmers in a matter of months. If we get any of them to a professional level then that's a bonus, but I'm proud of them all."

    Lynne Kemp. Horseriding instructor (Norwich).
    Teaches people from all backgrounds and abilities to ride, including those with physical and mental disabilities, who can bond with the horses though "body language."

    "She's an incredibly encouraging instructor who devotes a lot of her time", said one of Lynne's students, who suffered a stroke and whose recovery was aided by horseriding.

    Fred Fagg. Cricket coach (Ashford).
    The lifelong cricket enthusiast has been a member of Mersham Sports Club since 1945, and has been a player and umpire. These days he helps get the pitch ready for matches.

    He says: "Cricket teaches self discipline and helps youngsters to discipline themselves. I enjoy getting the ground ready."

    Jenny Worth. Tennis/badminton coach (Cornwall).
    Coaches local children in three sports she is passionate about - tennis, badminton and table tennis. She has taught table tennis for 16 years at Launceston College.

    She says: "From small beginnings, they can go on to become stars of the future. Sport is fantastic really - it's good training for life, and I'm proud to be trying to make a difference."

    Jackie Maxwell. Football coach.(Northern Ireland).
    A volunteer at Oliver Plunkett FC for more than 25 years after his two young sons were knocked down and killed in a car accident.

    He says: "I was lost, and that's when my wife pushed me to get into Oliver Plunkett. What I get out of it is unbelievable - it changes children enormously.

    "It's so important to plant the seed early and help them make something of themselves - all they need is passion. If you get them into sport at an early age, you can then get them to do anything."

    Mandy Keating. Football coach. (Merthyr Tydfil).
    Coaches Georgetown girls team, where many of the players come from poor backgrounds.

    She says: "The girls can escape their problems and enter a different world, a world where they're important, and where they can actively achieve something and enjoy themselves. I love them - each and every one of them."

    Arthur Peel. Football coach (Bradford). Coach and chairman of Queensbury Celtic Junior Football Club.
    Helps children get interested in football, and is rewarded by many going on to be adult footballers. After years of fundraising, a 100,000 local indoor pitch has been built to shield players from the harsh winds that hit the Pennines.

    He says: "I want to get the kids interested in something they'll develop and follow.""

  • The Community Channel is broadcast 24 hours a day, every day on Sky 539, Virgin TV 233, and from 0600 to 0900 on Freeview 87.

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