Sports Personality of the Year 2011: Scots duo win Unsung Hero award

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Scots duo win Unsung Hero award

Athletics coaches Janice Eaglesham and Ian Mirfin have won the BBC Sports Unsung Hero award for 2011 at the Sports Personality of the Year show.

The pair formed the Red Star Athletics Club in Glasgow 21 years ago with only a couple of members.

Since then the club has grown, with more than 150 disabled athletes trained by the Scottish duo over the years.

It is the first time a joint nomination has been chosen out of the 15 regional winners from across the UK.

Now in its ninth year, the BBC Sports Unsung Hero award recognises and rewards outstanding contribution by individuals at the grassroots level of local sport, who give up their time on a voluntary basis so that sport can be played and enjoyed by people throughout the UK.

On receiving the award from England footballer Michael Owen, Mirfin, a staff development officer with South Lanarkshire Council, said: "I'm a bit shocked and stunned.

"Thanks to BBC Scotland for the support, it's resulted in more coverage of disability sport. We know many other people who are involved to a greater extent than us and this is an award for volunteers everywhere."

Eaglesham, who recently retired as a sports development officer with Glasgow City Council later told BBC Radio 5 live: "We've had so many wonderful athletes through our doors.

"We're getting disabled sport into sports pages, which is where it belongs. We're talking about elite athletes here, regardless of whether or not they have a disability."

Mirfin added: "The people you work with give so much back and you get so much enjoyment. This is such a fantastic trophy, and the main SPOTY trophy is so iconic. It's just so wonderful to receive something like this."

The award was presented to the Cambuslang couple in front of a glittering array of sporting celebrities during the live BBC One show from MediaCity UK in Manchester.

Runners-up, in no particular order, were Sean McGoldrick, a dedicated servant of Eoghan Rua GAA Club in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, Steve Pateman, a former Sumo wrestler who set up a community gym in the centre of Derby and Peter Thatcher, from Bath Judo club in Larkhall, Bath.

Regional winners:

Northern Ireland Sean McGoldrick

Wales Gareth Hughes

North East and Cumbria Steve Betts

North West Roy Wood

Yorkshire Steven Whitehead

East Yorks and Lincs Tony Bradwell

West Midlands Bill Longmore

East Midlands Steve Pateman

East Dawn Barnard

West Peter Thatcher

South West Dave Desforges

South East Alan Wildig

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