The recipients of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2023 Unsung Hero award have been unveiled, with winners from various regions across the UK. The announcement was made during the 70th BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony, broadcast live on BBC One and iPlayer on Tuesday, 19th December, from 7 pm to 9 pm.

The award recognizes volunteers who positively impact their communities by promoting participation in grassroots sports. The winners for this year are as follows:

– Chloe Gibson (East Midlands)
– Des Smith (Yorkshire)
– Gareth Mahood (Northern Ireland)
– Hamsa Hassan (West)
– Hannah Escott (West Midlands)
– Kate O’Sullivan (North East & Cumbria)
– Khadija Patel (North West)
– Lamin Faal (South East)
– Megan Allen (London)
– Melvyn Hamer (Cymru Wales)
– Rachael Hutchinson (East)
– Ruby McDonald (Scotland)
– Sadie Merrien (South West)
– Steph Atkinson (East Yorks & Lincs)
– Terry Dennis (South)

Each winner hails from one of the BBC’s nations and regions, with the overall winner revealed during the ceremony.

Chloe Gibson (East Midlands)

40-year-old Chloe was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2022, but this didn’t stop her from supporting young girls through her volunteer work at her local netball club, the Cliftonettes, until she passed away in June this year. Chloe spent all of her spare time encouraging the youngsters to get involved in netball, positively impacting their lives, all whilst enduring her own personal trauma.

Desmond Smith (Yorkshire)

After emigrating to Sheffield from the Caribbean in the 1960s, Desmond Smith made it his life’s mission to support the people within his community, so in 1986 he launched the Sheffield Caribbean Sports Club. What started out as a safe haven for a handful of young people has now evolved into an all-inclusive sports club supporting five cricket teams, eight junior football sides, and has over 40 young people attending the venue to train up to four times a week in either football, cricket, hockey or netball.

Gareth Mahood (Northern Ireland)

With an infectious enthusiasm and passion for paddle sports, Gareth has been running the Ulster Canoe Club for years. Strategically keeping the membership costs low, and providing free kits in order to be as inclusive as possible. Having overcome personal adversity in recent years, Gareth also volunteers with various youth groups, encouraging young people involved in paddle sports who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.

Hamsa Hassan (West)

Hamsa has been improving the lives of underprivileged kids in Bristol for years through the Nextgen Circle, a community organisation he founded in 2019 at the age of 23. With the main aim to increase access to sport for young people, he founded the programme as a way to prevent young people from the more deprived areas of Bristol from joining gangs and participating in anti-social behaviour. A taxi driver by trade, Hamsa has also established a free Youth Camp which runs all year round, and caters for children aged six to 18, providing a lifeline for busy parents, and engaging over 100 young people each week.

Hannah Escott (West Midlands)

A passionate cycle coach by trade, Hannah fought off plans for a patch of land to be bulldozed, and instead had it transformed into the Burlish Bike Park and Community Centre which opened this summer. With the aim of creating a safe biking space accessible for people of all biking abilities, she has far surpassed her first year expectations with over 2000 cyclists visiting in the first four months alone.

Kate O’Sullivan (North East & Cumbria)

A keen rower, Kate can be found on the river at Tees Rowing Club encouraging people from all walks of life all year round, despite the weather. With the aim of making rowing more meaningful for people, Kate secured a large amount of funding to establish the Infinity Project, which puts social inclusion at the forefront of the rowing club’s agenda. Over the years she has formed crews of new rowers who include young kids, asylum seekers, and those who are neurodivergent, further making a positive impact on the local community.

Khadija Patel (North West)

Khadija has rallied local women in her community with the creation of KRIMMZ Girls Youth Club, a volunteer-led community group, offering women only sporting activities in Bolton. As a strict Muslim, Khadija ensures that the opportunities KRIMMZ’ offers meets the cultural and religious sensitivities of the community, and with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, she aims to ensure all members from different walks of life feel accepted, welcomed and supported by the club. KRIMMZ now has over 360 members who take part in a range of sporting activities including swimming, netball, football, skiing , yoga, cricket, archery, squash and fitness classes.

Lamin Faal (South East)

A dedicated father and lover of football, Lamin is a football coach with Seaford Town Football Club All Inclusive teams which were set up for children and adults who have registered disabilities and struggle to access mainstream football. He is a step-father to two young adults with disabilities, and a night-time carer at a local care home. He turns up to coach the AI teams every Saturday morning, week in and week out, often after working a gruelling night-shift, further highlighting his dedication to the players.

Megan Allen (London)

Megan has become the face and voice of We Swim Crouch End for the past two years, encouraging individuals with a range of complex disabilities to stay active through swimming. She splits her time between volunteering as We Swim’s club manager, and her full-time role supporting the migrant community as an operations manager at Hackney Migrant Centre.

Melvyn Hamer (Cymru Wales)

Melvyn has been the life and soul of the Heads of Valleys boxing gym for over 50 years. Prior to his retirement, he would combine his day job as a milkman with and running boxing training sessions three nights a week. Over the years, Melvyn has gone above and beyond to maintain the upkeep of the gym, and give thousands of young people from Cymru the opportunity to learn about boxing and its disciplines.

Rachael Hutchinson (East)

As an Orthopaedic Surgeon, Rachael has been transforming lives for over fifteen years. She is the co-founder of Able2B, a rehabilitation centre where she improves the function for those living with disabilities, giving 50 hours a week to this service, and serving over 400 clients a week. She has transformed peoples’ lives, including teaching children with cerebral palsy to walk and helping stroke survivors to regain independence. Rachael encourages a culture of inclusivity in the community, leading her to establish an educational sport project called ‘Discover Your Ability’, which allows children with a disability to play alongside those without to increase awareness and change perceptions.

Ruby McDonald (Scotland)

17-year-old Ruby is a learning disability athlete who promotes inclusion at Disability Sports Fife and has become a role model for youngsters across Scotland. Ruby lives with foetal-alcohol syndrome and requires regular care, however this hasn’t stopped her from doing what she is passionate about. Ruby volunteers for multiple organisations, from supporting classes for younger children with disabilities, to planning and delivering sport summer programmes, to trying her hand at paddle-boarding. She has also recently become a member of Disability Sport Scotland Young Persons Sports Panel, a voluntary position that ensures that those with disabilities are represented regionally.

Sadie Merrien (South West)

Sadie volunteers as the Secretary at Guernsey Raiders Rugby Club, and without her dedication, the Club’s co-chair Andrea believes the club wouldn’t exist. Her role as Honorary Secretary is all-encompassing, and she took on the voluntary work as a way of giving back to the club that developed her children’s rugby skills through their younger years. Her voluntary work ranges from organising club finances, cooking up breakfasts, and being an advisory and mother-figure to all of the club members. Sadie is the Guernsey Raiders FC Club Hero.

Steph Atkinson (East Yorks & Lincs)

Steph has been involved with Little Victories FC – a club specifically for children with cerebral palsy – since both her sons, Henry and Herbie, started playing for them. A full-time nurse, she decided to volunteer as the clubs’ Welfare Officer, but soon turned her hand to coaching football and becoming a trusted member of the team for new players and families to lean on. Steph now leads the weekly training sessions, and her journey as a volunteer further highlights the impact that she has made on the community at Little Victories FC.

Terry Dennis (South)

Terry became disabled as a teenager but has continued to give back to his local community through sport time and time again. Terry has volunteered in wheelchair sports like basketball, fencing and para-cycling and set up the Wessex Accessible Cycling Club. After the pandemic he launched the Dorset Demons, a wheelchair basketball team which aims to give physically disabled adults who had been shielding during Covid1 the chance to get back into the community and socialise. Not only did he set up the club, become chairman and head coach, he also succeeded in securing over £20,000 in funding to ensure that team members have safe and secure sports wheelchairs to compete in.