BBC NI's Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero 2011

As part of Sports Personality of the Year, BBC Northern Ireland is looking for some special people working in sport. It is our 2011 BBC Sports Unsung Hero awards.

Do you know someone who helps others take part in sport within your community?

Someone who goes that extra mile to make a difference to sport?

If so, why not nominate them for a BBC's Sports Unsung Hero award in Northern Ireland?

The winner in the Northern Ireland region will be chosen by an expert panel and announced in early December. He or she will then compete against the winners from all 12 BBC English Regions plus Scotland and Wales for the overall winner, to be announced at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year event in Salford on Thursday, 22 December live on BBC One.

Last year, Carmel Gorman and Seamus McAnee were named as Northern Ireland's Unsung Heroes. It was the first time two people had been selected for the award.

Carmel and Seamus of the City of Derry Swimming Club had been coaching young people of all backgrounds and ability to swim for over 30 years, and showed no sign of slowing down despite Seamus being over 75.

The swimming sessions provided by Carmel and Seamus provided a welcomed distraction during the Troubles and brought youngsters from both sides of the religious divide together to enjoy the sport.

What are we looking for?

We want to know about someone who, on a voluntary basis, makes a real difference to sport within their area. They'll give their time and talents to enable others to participate in sport. This may be in helping an individual, team or teams, or perhaps be the driving force behind a sports club. This sport can be at any level. However they must be someone who gains no financial reward for their time, and must be 16 year of age or over.

How are the awards run?

Once the nomination process has been completed, a shortlist of nominees in each area is chosen by a panel made up of BBC regional and nations' sports staff, local sporting figures and other independent community figures, with a winner being picked by that judging panel.

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Haggith wins 2010 Unsung Hero award

All 15 regional BBC winners are then invited to this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year show where an overall winner is announced.

In the nine years of the awards, many inspiring figures have won a Sports Unsung Hero Award. Recent Northern Ireland winners have included:

2007 - Postman Michael McGreevy who was recognised for nearly 25 years of service to Dromore Athletics Club.

2008 - Frank Gervin - famous in east Tyrone for standing in the way of a bulldozer to prevent his beloved Clonoe boxing gym from being knocked down.

2009 - Coleraine coach, Bobby Platt, who was honoured for devoting 60 years' service to rowing.

So if you know someone like Carmel and Seamus, Bobby, Frank or Michael, whose unselfish and hard-working commitment to sport in their communities deserves recognition, please get in touch.

Nominations for the BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award 2011 can be made at bbc.co.uk/sportsunsunghero using a printable form.

There is also a low-cost phone number people can call to request nomination forms - 0845 308 8000. Calls cost up to 5p/min from most landlines (an additional connection fee may also apply). Calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.

Further details are also available from BBC local radio stations and BBC regional and national centres. Nominations can be made up until midnight on Sunday 30 October.

Social media is also playing a greater role in this year's BBC Sports Unsung Hero campaign. A dedicated Facebook page has been created at www.facebook.com/BBCSportUnsungHero and information and updates will also be posted on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Twitter feed @BBCSPOTY.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 will be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC One HD on 22 December.

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