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Sport volunteers to be recognised on red carpet at BBC Sports Personality of the Year

November 11, 2016

The #BigThankYou campaign, which is the UK’s biggest celebration of sports volunteers, has been launched. 

Culminating at BBC Sports Personality of the Year, the #BigThankYou is an opportunity for community sport and recreation clubs to acknowledge their volunteers and get closer to the red carpet.

The #BigThankYou campaign is led by Join In (part of the Sport and Recreation Alliance), together with BBC Get Inspired, Sport England and UK Sport. 

It is an opportunity for members to encourage their community sport and recreation clubs to be part of the action and celebrate their outstanding volunteers. Clubs and groups can do this sharing their stories, posting pictures on social media and thanking them through the hashtag #BigThankYou.

On Sunday 18 December the #BigThankYou will reach its climax on the red carpet at BBC Sports Personality of the Year in Birmingham, when the star-studded guest list will surprise some volunteers with a call to say a #BigThankYou for the contribution they make in sport.

Last year’s star callers included tennis world number one Andy Murray, British golfer Rory McIlroy, international rugby hero Dan Carter, Paralympic tennis star Jordanne Wiley and Olympic gold medallists, Max Whitlock, Dina Asher-Smith and Greg Rutherford, and after another amazing year of sport, we’re expecting even more big names to jump at the chance to thank volunteers.

Former England rugby union player and now sports broadcaster Maggie Alphonsi is supporting the #BigThankYou and discusses what volunteers mean to her:

"My first coach was a volunteer and contributed to my success, helping me to develop my skills. That made a big difference in allowing me to have the goal to play for England.

"I got into rugby at fourteen and the people who kept my club going were all parents and coaches who volunteered, that was really special. When I look back I think, 'wow', if it wasn't for them I probably wouldn't have got into sport and other people wouldn't have got into sport either."

Volunteers are the heartbeat of sport and physical activity across the UK. Whether it's a coach that helps build a player's confidence, an enthusiastic marshal who motivates someone to push a bit harder or the club secretary keeping the books balanced, join the nation’s celebration of volunteers on 18 December and say a #BigThankYou.

How can you get involved?

Nominate: We want to hear about great volunteers who deserve a #BigThankYou call live from the red carpet. If you know someone who does that little bit extra to make sport happen nominate them at joininuk.org for a chance to get a call from a sporting hero. 

Share: Get your clubs involved in the #BigThankYou celebrations by helping them thank their volunteers in the build up to December 18. Get them to share their volunteer stories, post pictures from any activities they arrange and remind them to thank volunteers through the hashtag #BigThankYou. Digital tool kits will soon be available to help clubs with ideas and suggestions on activities and ways they can say a #BigThankYou.

For more information, details and ideas on how to get involved in the #BigThankYou visit joininuk.org