Kelso athlete and citizen of the year Ali Hay is set to collect his second award in just one week tonight.
The 30-year-old is down in London to pick up the TSB Community Partner Award at the star-studded Mirror’s Pride of Sport Awards, in partnership with TSB, in London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.
The father-of-two, the driving force behind Kelso’s £240,000 skatepark, was named Kelso’s Citizen of the Year by its Rotary Club on Saturday evening.
And tonight he will pick up national recognition at the awards, which celebrate the unsung heroes of grassroots sport and will include guests such as olympians Greg Rutherford and Dame Kelly Holmes and host television personality Ben Shephard.
Ali, a qualified fitness instructor and coach, said: “This award was a real shocker. I’m not sure who nominated me for it, but it was really nice of them.
“It caught me totally off guard when they called inviting me to the awards, I couldn’t believe it.
“It’s one of those ones that is so big that I don’t really feel worthy of it. There must be a lot of people out there doing similar things within their communities and awards like this aren’t the incentive for that. With the sakepark I was just just trying to hit each target, keep the thing moving forward and get there eventually, nothing bigger than that.” Through his work on the project, and his appearances on hit television show Ninja Warrior UK, Ali has since turned his hand to motivational speaking.
“It has given me a lot more confidence in how I conduct myself in front of people,” he added. “I will use this exposure through the awards to try get a call to arms out there encouraging other people to get involved in their communities.
“The project was to get Kelso’s facilities up to scratch. That was the main goal. Not we are at a point where I want to see waht else I can do. I want to inspire others.
“Community is the key word here. We would never have managed any of this withoutht he Kelso community, the Borders in general and even the help of people Scotland-wide. I would never have gotten anywhere without them, whether they put £1 in a collection bucket, shared a Facebook video or given us publicity in the papers. “I am completely humbled by both awards, it’s awesome.”
Ali will be accompanied to the Pride of Sport Awards by his girlfriend Linsday, parents Sandra and Mark and sister Jode and will spend today carrying out radio interviews ahead of tonight’s ceremony.
Pete Markey, chief marketing officer for TSB, said “TSB is incredibly proud of our continued partnership with both Pride of Britain and Pride of Sport. We believe in people helping people, and the communities they live in, to thrive.
“Pride of Sport celebrates those who have used sport to make a positive different to people and the communities they are a part of, up and down the country. It represents our nation’s local sporting heroes; people from the grassroots of sport, who’ve achieved something extraordinary for themselves, their friends and families, and for their communities.
“It’s fantastic to pay tribute to these incredible nominees and winners, who have inspired us all.”