Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Ella Told Me She Wants to Be a Superhero When She's Older ...She Already Is

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Ella Told Me She Wants to Be a Superhero When She's Older ...She Already Is

Article excerpt

NOMINATE NOW AT PRIDEOFSPORT AWARDS.CO.UK From inspirational fundraising tot to selfless coaches, award winners are my sporting heroes

AWONDERFUL story came to light during the World Cup. Former England striker Jermain Defoe revealed that he was once driving home from training with Tottenham when he saw a group of young lads, aged about 10 or 11, playing five-a-side.

He stopped his car, and joined in with them for a while, giving them a thrill and a few tips about finding the net, before driving off and thinking no more about it.

He only discovered years later that one of the kids he had a kickabout with was Harry Kane, who grew up to be England's talismanic striker, captain and World Cup Golden Boot winner.

That story sums up two of the reasons I'm delighted to once again host the Mirror's Pride of Sport Awards, in partnership with TSB.

Firstly, Jermain giving up his time to give those kids a chance to play with their hero is a lovely example of the selflessness at the heart of these awards.

Barry McGuigan Boxing Club And it reminds us all that right now the next Harry Kane is kicking a ball about in the park with his mates somewhere.

Harry started out at Ridgeway Rovers in Chingford, East London, and his England team-mates Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck played for Fletcher Moss Rangers in Si-am Juntakereket Olympian Amy racing cyclist Manchester.

It's not just football of course, although that's been the focus for so many of us in this glorious World Cup summer as Gareth Southgate's men thrilled us all with their march to the semi-finals.

In parks, on playing fields and in sports halls and gyms and pools all over the country, young people are taking their very first steps in sport, learning new skills, making friends, and keeping fit and healthy.

But none of them could do it without the support of grassroots volunteers, from dedicated coaches to groundskeepers marking out pitches, people raising money for vital equipment and the army of mums and dads who give up their time to help not just their own children, but their fellow club members.

Those endlessly supportive parents and competitors taking part for the love of the game rather than glory, are the true lifeblood of sport in Britain.

Pride of Sport celebrates all the unsung heroes of sport, from volunteers giving up their own time to run clubs to inspirational coaches and young people who have overcome awe-inspiring challenges just to make it to the start line.

They are out there making a difference in every community, and we need you to help us find them.

with Dale Youth coach Mick Delaney It may be someone who gives up their time to run a club, a coach who has transformed a team's fortunes, or someone who has pushed themselves to the limit to raise money for a good cause.

with Winter Williams and road Mark Cavendish Last year's winners were all of this and more. It was a truly remarkable night as we celebrated inspirational young people like Billy Monger, the teenage racing driver who refused to give up after losing his legs in a horrific crash and Si-am Juntakereket who was just 13 when he completed a record-breaking bike ride across Australia.

Teen gymnastics star Taeja James was our Young Sportsperson of the Year, and we also honoured Izzy Weale, who lost her arms and legs at the age of seven to meningitis and went on to become a national champion on the trampoline, and Callum Smart, who set up a virtual charity run to raise more than £22,000 in memory of his best friend who was killed in a road accident.

Little Ella Chadwick, who had endured more than 40 operations before a lifechanging kidney transplant, completed the Mini Great Manchester Run to help raise £3,000 for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital which looked after her. She stole the show when she told me she wanted to be Under-20 winners a superhero when she grows up - she already is. …

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