World boxing champion Savannah Marshall has given this year’s Hartlepool Heroes awards a big thumbs up after remembering how volunteers put her on track for international stardom.
The Friday, June 10 deadline for nominations is approaching before judges will then come up with a shortlist for the 11 categories of awards.
Hartlepool Heroes aims to reward and raise awareness of those within the community who go the extra mile to help others.
Winners will be presented at a special night at the Borough Hall on Thursday, July 7 when Savannah hopes her training schedule will allow her to be in attendance.
The WBO middleweight title holder is gearing up for her eagerly-anticipated showdown with American Claressa Shields in September, but knows exactly where her boxing journey all started.
That was at Headland Amateur Boxing Club as a schoolgirl when she was coached by Tim Coulter and the rest of the team for years – so knows how important volunteers are within grassroots sport and society as a whole.
Savannah said: “I didn’t have to pay subs when I first started at the Headland gym. I was going for years. There were three or four coaches, taking kids up and down the country and they still do it now – just out of love for what they do.
“It is those people who have got me in the position I am in today and I am grateful for that.
“I see coaches who I have known since I was 12 years-old at shows today, still volunteering and giving 100 per cent and not asking for anything back.
“It’s amazing what those people do and there are so many volunteers out there in sport and other areas helping others in some way. It’s incredible.”
Hartlepool Heroes will find a Community Champion, Sports Initiative, Volunteer of the Year, Carer of the Year, Young Adult Carer of the Year, Young Carer of the Year, Green Community Champion, Healthcare Hero, Teacher of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and a People’s Choice winner.
The search for Heroes is being led by the PFC Trust, Hartlepool Borough Council, Jill Mortimer MP, HartlePower, Poolie Time Exchange, Carers UK and media partner Hartlepool Life.
Hartlepool Carers, Hartlepool United, Artistic Solutions, Phoenix 2 Retail, Orangebox Training Solutions and the Sheraton Group are among those who will be sponsoring an award with more to come.
Savannah, an ambassador for the PFC Trust, said: “It’s a fantastic event and, personally, I know other volunteers in the community who do tremendous things.
“Life is hard enough anyway so to hear stories about what others are doing for people in their spare or extra time, often on top of working, alongside families and jobs – for those to take time out of their lives for others is amazing.
“Sometimes people can feel alone too, and it is great that there are carers and volunteers out there who can go along and support others as well as themselves.”
Whether Savannah can make an appearance at the Borough Hall will depend on where she is, with fight camp on the horizon ahead of the September showdown with Shields.
She said: “I’m waiting for the date and the venue. At the minute it is likely to be Newcastle or London in early September.
“I am feeling really good. I just can’t wait to get the date nailed down. I have waited a long time for this fight and I can’t wait to get started and get cracking. But good luck to everyone involved in Hartlepool Heroes before that.”
Nominations for Heroes should be done online via thepfctrust.org/awards and the closing date for entries is on Friday, June 10.