Get Inspired: Sports stars to say #BigThankYou at Sports Personality of the Year

Some of the stars who got involved in last year's event
Some of the sporting stars who got involved in last year's event

BBC Sports Personality of the Year will again be saying a big thank you to the UK's sporting volunteers at its star-studded awards ceremony on Sunday, 18 December at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.

The #BigThankYou is Britain's biggest celebration of sports volunteers and recognises the thousands of unsung heroes who give up their time to work tirelessly so others can enjoy many sport and fitness activities.

On the night, live on the red carpet, sporting superstars will surprise volunteers with a phone call to publicly thank them for the contribution they make in sport.

Last year's callers included tennis world number one Andy Murray, golfer Rory McIlroy, international rugby hero Dan Carter, Paralympic tennis star Jordanne Whiley and Olympic medallists Max Whitlock, Greg Rutherford and Dina Asher-Smith.

If you know someone who does that little bit extra to make sport happen, give them a chance to get a call from their sporting hero from the red carpet by nominating them via the Join In website.

Community sports and recreation clubs and groups can be part of the action by celebrating their outstanding volunteers, sharing their stories, posting pictures on social media and thanking them through #BigThankYou.

Former England rugby union player and now sports broadcaster, Maggie Alphonsi, who knows first-hand how important volunteers are to sport, is among the sporting stars backing the campaign.

"My first coach was a volunteer and contributed to my success, helping me to develop my skills," she said. "That made a big difference in allowing me to have the goal to play for England.

"I got into rugby at 14 and the people who kept my club going were all parents and coaches who volunteered, that was really special. When I look back I think, 'wow', if it wasn't for them I probably wouldn't have got into sport and other people wouldn't have got into sport either."

BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be on BBC One on 18 December 2016.

There is a continuing need for more unsung heroes in sport in the UK. If you have been inspired by this and want to get involved in helping grassroots sport in your community, visit the Get Inspired guide to volunteering. There is also a dedicated page for coaching.