LEONARD Bleakley has been named as the BBC’s Unsung Hero for 2012.
The Moneyslane Football Club stalwart has been named as the winner of the award which will see him rub shoulders with some of the world’s biggest sporting stars - and, he hopes, some of the well known faces from his favourite football team, Liverpool.
Lenny was nominated by his daughter, Alison, for the award in recognition of his service to Moneyslane. A founding member of the club, Lenny serves as co-ordinator for junior football, media officer and child welfare officer.
On top of his off-the-pitch work Lenny oversees some 200 plus training sessions in a year most recently helped to co-ordinate the fundraising of £60,000 for the development of the club’s new 3G training pitch.
“I’m chuffed to bits,” Lenny told the Leader after receiving his award at the BBC on Thursday.
“I received a phone call from Mark Sidebottom last Wednesday telling me I had won - initially I thought he was winding me up!
“They then came down to do a bit of filming around the club.
“I accept the award not only for myself but in recognition of the many hours put in by all the staff of Moneyslane FC who provide the opportunity for members of the community, from children under the age of six through to adults, to participate in and enjoy a sport that they love.
“It will be a great honour to represent our club at the main awards night later this month.
“We head over to London on the 16th for a VIP weekend for three and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the biggest names in sport.”
A keen player back in his day, Lenny’s Intermediate League football career was ended abruptly when he lost a limb a decade ago in a work accident.
He dedicated himself thereafter to training and coaching children from the local area.
Under his guidance the club has grown from having one team to having seven junior boys teams, two senior teams and one ladies team.
Lenny now goes forward against 15 other regional Unsung Hero award winners to the main Sports Personality of the Year ceremony which takes place this Sunday in the ExCel Arena, the scene of some of this summer’s Olympics most memorable moments.