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Sports Personality award winner Denise loves her new Asda community role

BBC Sports Personality unsung hero winner Denise Shannon has had an incredible few months – winning an award for getting local people into running, getting married, and starting a job as our Nuneaton store's community champion. Here she writes about her experience...

By Denise Shannon

July 18, 2018 11:19am
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Asda Nuneaton community champion Denise Shannon

I love working for Asda, and my new role is amazing. I never realised what a difference Asda makes in the community until recently, and to be part of that makes me feel so proud.

When I won the Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero award last December, I'd worked in the Lutterworth depot for 17 years and decided to look for a more suitable role in Asda. I didn't even know Asda employed community champions, so when I found out more about the role I thought it would be ideal for someone like me who is so community minded – and I was right.

I love volunteering in the community. I've been volunteering at a support group where people who have suffered a stroke can enjoy activities. We have lunch together, play dominoes and cards and there's lots of laughter and chat. I also help out at a lovely lunch club for people who don’t have much opportunity to socialise.

Asda Nuneaton community champion Denise Shannon
Denise loves her community champion role

I've just started joining volunteers at the local foodbank too. Their work makes such an amazing difference to people and I'm looking forward to getting more and more involved with them.

I remain very keen on getting people moving. I lead a local running club, a cycling club, I do orienteering with children and circuit training with older people. In 2012 I got to carry the Olympic torch through Hinckley because of my voluntary work with my running club.

Asda Nuneaton community champion Denise Shannon with her running club
Denise with her running club - she carried the Olympic torch in 2012

It doesn't matter how old you are. I'm 56, and I run marathons. When I got married this year, my honeymoon was walking the West Highland Way, which is nearly a hundred miles! Keeping active is so, so important. I've even climbed Kilimanjaro for charity.

Asda Nuneaton community champion Denise climbing Kilimanjaro for charity
Denise climbing Kilimanjaro

Since I won the award, I've been visiting schools to chat to the children about the importance of being active. I like to tell them what one of the members of my running club said to me. He said that joining the club made him feel like he is worth something.

There is nothing in life that will make you feel any better than knowing you have helped someone feel they're worth something, and that's the message I want to get across. Helping in your community is such a worthwhile thing, and the difference you can make is limitless.

I'm on the judging panel for this year's Sports Personality unsung hero award, and I'll present the award to the winner on stage in front of 10,000 people in the arena, and another ten million watching at home. It's all so exciting – I'll never forget winning it last year.

That walk to the stage was the shortest, and the longest, of my life. I was trying really hard to stop myself crying and to think of what to say, and I managed on both counts. Winning the award really has changed my life.

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