HARTLEPOOL’S favourite son Jeff Stelling has thrown his weight behind the inaugural Hartlepool Mail Sports Awards.
The Mail is looking for heroes from all sectors of the Hartlepool sporting arena from individuals to teams - even referees who have gone above and beyond.
From the grass roots heroes to those outstanding individuals who have represented our town with pride at international level, we want to hear from all of you.
And now Jeff - the anchor and star of Soccer Saturday on Sky - has given his backing saying the area has always been a hotbed of sporting talent.
Pools-born Jeff, who used to work at the Mail, said: “It’s a great move as sport is and always has been a religion in the North-East.
“It’s aspirational and everyone in Hartlepool can see what the likes of Jemma Lowe, Paul Jennings, Savannah Marshall, Graeme Storm and a host of others have achieved across a wide range of sports.
“The talented young people of the town should be looking at them and trying to equal or emulate their tremendous achievements.
“These awards can help encourage them, help give them the belief that they are on their way.
“But it’s more than that.
“I remember playing in the Hartlepool Sunday League and there’s nothing quite like team sport to bind people together. Even though we weren’t very good, we always tried our best and I still remember all my mates from that team really well.
“Sport at whatever level gives you friends for life so I’m pleased that there are team awards and unsung hero awards.
“It’s great there is such a broad spectrum or awards though my mate Matt Le Tissier says good luck with finding a referee of the year - I don’t know what he means!”
We have already heard from runners, footballers, rugby players and those who work behind the scenes but we want more nominations for our inaugural awards, which will culminate with a glittering finale in early October.
There are 13 categories in total including team of the year, disabled sports person award, coach of the year, club of the year, lifetime achievement award and sports personality of the year award.
People have until September 13 to put forward a nomination. Judges will then meet to draw up the shortlist of finalists.
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