‘Unsung’ Wigan sports hero’s accolade

Peter Hill with the BBC North West Tonight team after winning his award
Peter Hill with the BBC North West Tonight team after winning his award

A Wiganer will be rubbing shoulders with sporting legends at the Sports Personality Of the Year ceremony as a reward for his commitment to improving mental health

Peter Hill has been invited to attend the prestigious ceremony on December 15 in Aberdeen, having been crowned the BBC’s North West Unsung Sporting Hero.

The 35-year-old scooped the gong for his creation of Place 2 Place FC, which uses five-a-side football as a casual way to start conversations about mental health.

And Peter’s regional triumph means he is one of 15 people in contention to win the national Unsung Hero award at the SPOTY Awards.

Peter, from Beech Hill, came face to face with the devastating effects of poor mental health, after his best friend took his own life in 2014, at just 30 years old.

Shortly after his friend passed away, his friend’s stepdad and brother also committed suicide.

Within the space of 18 months, three men in the same family had taken their own lives.

It was following the three tragic deaths, and then the shock of another, that Peter decided to take a stand against mental health stigma, starting with a charity bike ride to Paris, before later going on to found the five-a-side team.

The team’s efforts to help people through their struggles have received a whirlwind of praise, and now accolades from TV’s top brass have bolstered P2P’s cause by thrusting it even further into the spotlight.

The award even attracted praise from Manchester United and Wales winger Daniel James, who tweeted: “What an inspirational story. Amazing to see the positive effect football has had here! It’d be lovely to meet Peter and his friends.”