Late last year, we asked for your help to find the unsung legends of sport in the West Midlands.
From hundreds of nominations received, today we introduce our 14 Hometown Heroes – the volunteers and grafters who dedicate everything to keeping grassroots sport alive.
Hometown Heroes celebrates and recognises the diversity of the region by shining a spotlight on those that go above and beyond to develop sport, encourage participation and promote physical and mental wellbeing in their community.
These 14 selfless individuals, made up of coaches, managers, umpires, and fundraisers, have dedicated their lives to grassroots sport in the West Midlands.
The full list of Hometown Heroes consists of:
- Haseebah Abdullah, Coach at Windmill Boxing Team, Smethwick
- Naseem Akhtar BEM, Project Manager at Saheli Hub, Balsall Heath, Birmingham
- Salma Bi BEM, Coach, Umpire and Fundraiser, and Director of Sporting Pathways, Birmingham
- Jeevan Chagger, Chairman, Coach and Umpire at City of Birmingham Hockey Club, Birmingham
- Ricardo D’Alva, Coach at City of Birmingham Rockets Basketball Club, Nechells
- Kirsty Davie, Team Manager and Coach at Birmingham Moseley Women’s RFC, Birmingham
- Kevin Dillon, Head Coach at Lions Amateur Boxing Club, Brierley Hill
- Dave Heeley OBE, Runner and Charity Fundraiser, West Bromwich
- Joan Hunter, Coach at University of Birmingham Netball Club, Birmingham
- Steve Mroso, Coach and Team Manager at Team Birmingham Elite Basketball Club, Birmingham
- Yasmin Nessa, Co-founder of Saltley Stallions Women’s Football Club, Birmingham
- Kevin Redmond, Coach at Solihull Moors FC Ability Counts, Solihull
- Sarah Scanlon, Umpire at Ernesford Grange Netball Club, Coventry
- Ranjit Singh, Coach at Wolverhampton Wrestling Club, Wolverhampton
To mark the announcement, former Birmingham Poet Laureate and four-times Birmingham and Midland boxing champion Matt Windle has written and performed a spoken word poem, entitled Hometown Hero. The piece is inspired by the Hometown Heroes’ stories and reflects their drive and determination to support participation in grassroots sport in their communities.