AN unsung hero has been selected as the winner of a Hartlepool Mail-backed awards scheme.
Bernie Kelly, 55, who has been a football coach for more than 20 years in Hartlepool, has won the town’s section of Grand Central’s Heart of the Community Awards.
Bernie was crowned a community champion after he was nominated for his commitment to helping thousands of local children take part in sports.
The judges were particularly impressed by Bernie’s dedication, not only coaching football teams for more than 20 years, but also helping to organise fundraising events to help extend the sports clubs facilities.
Grand Central’s Heart of the Community Awards recognise those people who have made contributions to the communities along the rail provider’s routes.
Grand Central’s general manager Sean English said: “We operate at the heart of the community so we wanted to recognise the unsung heroes along our North East route.
“There are so many people that, very often completely under the radar, are making a real difference to people’s lives and our Heart of the Community Awards aim to give them the recognition they deserve.
“I would like to congratulate Bernie for his commitment and passion for his local community and we look forward to celebrating with all the regional winners at our award ceremony in September.”
From raising money for good causes or volunteering for a local initiative, the accolade celebrates those that have made a real difference to their local community.
To reward Bernie for his contributions, Grand Central Rail will be inviting him to attend an award ceremony in September.
The occasion is being held to celebrate all the regional winners and Bernie will be presented with a pair of return train tickets to London. One overall winner along the North-East route will also be selected at the awards ceremony to receive an overnight trip for four to London and a £500 donation from Grand Central to the charity of their choice.
The nomination told how Bernie started off at St Francis Football Club, and went on to establish Seaton Carew Juniors at Seaton Carew Sports and Social Club where he has helped numerous different sports to flourish, helping thousands of local children.