BBC Sports Personality 2017: Denise Larrad wins BBC Unsung Hero award

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Community volunteer wins Unsung Hero
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2017
Date: Sunday, 17 December Time: 18:45 GMT Venue: Echo Arena, Liverpool Coverage: BBC One, Radio 5 live, BBC Sport website

Volunteer Denise Larrad has been named the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero award winner at the Sports Personality of the Year 2017 ceremony.

After being chosen to carry the Olympic Torch at the 2012 Games for her fundraising work, the 55-year-old had one sole aim - to get the people of Hinckley in Leicestershire active.

Despite working night shifts in a warehouse, she finds time to help lead walking, orienteering, running and general fitness classes for children, families and the elderly.

The mother of two leads a host of different activities and exercises, including a beginners running group where she motivates and nurtures participants to run a 5k race.

She is a trained walk leader, putting on weekly sessions for the elderly on behalf of the charity Age UK and also organises orienteering courses across the borough in town parks, woodlands and schools.

Kate Webb, from Age UK in Hinckley, said: "Denise has enabled us to offer walks to older people who are often overlooked.

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BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero winner for East Midlands Denise Larrad

"This has led to our members getting fitter and healthier and through this having a better quality of life."

Larrad received the trophy in Liverpool on Sunday at the annual BBC Sports Personality show after winning the East Midlands award earlier in the month.

"Thank you so much, this is so overwhelming," said an emotional Larrad.

"Inactivity can be more detrimental to your health than smoking. There are thousands of people up and down the country who are doing a spectrum of sports you can get involved with - so find out who they are."

Natalie Jackson, regional awards organiser and sports editor of BBC East Midlands Today, said: "Denise's story - and the fact she does this around the clock and whilst working night shifts - touched the judging panel.

"She gives people who have had a tough time hope through sport and her work is a real life changer."

Visit our special guide for how to get into volunteering.

Recent Unsung Hero award winners
2016: Marcellus Baz (boxing coach)2013: Joe and Maggie Forber (basketball coach and administrator)
2015: Damien Lindsay (football coach)2012: Sue and Jim Houghton (community sports club)
2014: Jill Stidever (swimming coach)2011: Janice Eaglesham and Ian Mirfin (athletics coaches)