Posted: Mon, 15 Dec 2014 09:00
Jill Stidever from Hinckley has beaten off stiff competition from 15 regional winners to be crowned winner of the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award 2014!
The awards ceremony took place as part of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards in The SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow yesterday. The star-studded event took place in front of an 12,000 capacity crowd and was shown live on BBC One last night.
Swimming coach Jill Stidever was named the BBC East Midlands Unsung Hero for 2014 last month in recognition of her work helping disabled children learn the joys of swimming. The winners of each of the 15 regional awards were put through to the National final with a prestigious judging panel including European Gold Medalist Jo Pavey and last year's winners Joe and Maggie Forber.
It is clear that Leicestershire has an abundance of Unsung Heroes as Jill follows in the footsteps of Sue and Jim Houghton who founded and continue to develop Sport in Desford and won the National BBC Unsung Hero Award in 2012. Colin Magee, Sailing Instructor at Bosworth Water and instructor on the local Sportivate scheme, won the East Midlands Regional Award in 2013.
Live at the awards last night Jill said, "For my team, husband and all the rest who supported me, thank you very much. I had a seven-year-old boy win a race last weekend and he made a little speech thanking us for the medal.
I have got tears and it was that that was particularly special. It was also special that parents have trusted their children to me over the last few years. I'm not the most conventional but I work new ways to help them. Thank you to all those who have supported me," she added.
Graeme Chilvers, who works at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and is one of the people who nominated Stidever, said: "She gets parents involved, she gets Paralympians involved. She inspires people. The difference this is making is incalculable."
Jill was recently recognised at the Leicester-Shire & Rutland Oldest Athlete Awards in October, nominated for the 'Volunteer Award', by Sandra Pugh from Ellesmere College. Sandra said of Jill, "Jill has been involved in disability swimming from grassroots through to elite level for over 50 years. She has a real passion for developing appropriate opportunities for young people and with her support many young swimmers have developed their skills and competed up to Paralympic level".
Kate Scott, Sports Development Officer (Equity) at Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport, who has worked closely with Jill over a number of years said, "Jill is an amazing person who has enabled countless youngsters to enrich their lives through swimming. She has dedicated years to teaching young disabled children to swim and coached and developed many onto becoming elite swimmers.
The impact Jill has had on many lives is immeasurable and continues to support individuals and organisations such as LRS to promote and develop opportunities within both education and the community. The time she gives to her swimmers goes beyond pool time as she is always there for them and understands and supports their additional needs.
She is a very modest person who just gets on with what needs to be done and this award is most definitely deserved – Jill really is an unsung hero".
Emily Scarratt, who has been supported by LRS' GO GOLD Funding Programme, and who is also a Leicester-Shire & Rutland School Games Ambassador, was part of the Women's Rugby Team who won 'Team of the Year' at the awards.
Well done to both Jill and Emily!