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'Phenomenal' colleague Denise nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year's Unsung Hero award

November 16, 2017 05:37pm
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Well done to our fantastic colleague Denise Larrad who's been nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year's Unsung Hero award after inspiring local people to join her fitness groups.

Denise Unsung Hero
Denise at work

Denise, who works at our Lutterworth depot, has set up running and walking clubs for people aged 14 to 72 and has also run marathons and climbed Kilimanjaro, raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Denise, who's 55 and has two children, has worked as a warehouse operative at the depot for 17 years.

She said: "When I found out I'd been nominated for the East Midlands Unsung Hero award I cried. I can't tell you how thrilled I am. There are three area nominees and then one of us will go through to the final awards in Liverpool

"When I got to 39 I decided I didn't want to be fat and 40 so I started running! Six weeks after I started I ran my first half marathon and I've done over 200 half marathons now. Most for charity.

"Colleagues nominated me to carry the Olympic torch in 2012 because of my charity work. It was such an honour and it made me want to give something back to the community, so I made it my mission to get the people of Hinckley moving more.

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Denise with the Olympic torch

"I've set up running groups, walking groups, cycling groups, an explorers group which is like a treasure hunt for kids and I run a senior strollers walking group for older people. My youngest runner is 14 and my oldest is 72.

"I work night shifts so quite often I finish work at 7am, go home, get changed and lead a running or walking group later that morning.

"I've run marathons and climbed Kilimanjaro for various local charities which is why I was nominated by colleagues to carry the torch. After I did that the local council got in touch with me and helped me set up some of these groups.

"The running club is full of runners who were complete beginners, and some of them are now starting to run half marathons, it's so nice to see people progressing. My colleagues are supportive too and think my volunteering efforts are great."

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Denise on Kilimanjaro

Denise was nominated for the Unsung Hero award by Graeme Chilvers, health and recreation manager at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council.

He said: "Denise gets involved in lots of volunteering independently and through us, she's an amazing fundraiser and a phenomenal lady. The difference she's made to people's lives in the area is incalculable.

"She's helped individuals overcome barriers and become active, and she's always willing to work with people to encourage and support them, all in her own time. She's very modest too, the perfect unsung hero."

Paul Statham, operations manager at the Lutterworth depot, said: "What Denise does in the community really is outstanding. She's selfless and very modest too."

Denise expects to find out in the next week if she has been selected as the East Midlands Unsung Hero winner. If she is she will go through to be considered for the national award.

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