Manager of a Wrexham football team BBC Wales’ Unsung Hero 2019

Delwyn Derrick commended for his work bringing people together through football

The manager of Wrexham-based Bellevue FC Delwyn Derrick has been awarded the title of BBC Wales Unsung Hero 2019. He has been recognised for his work supporting inclusion, using sport to bring people from different backgrounds together.

Former Wales, Manchester United and Wrexham winger Mickey Thomas, presented Delwyn with his award, surprising him and players during a training session.

Delwyn Derrick established Bellevue FC in 2016 in order to bring migrants, refugees and asylum seekers together to help them form new friendships in their new communities. Three years later, the team has had a number of successes, and has brought together players from countries all over the world.

The BBC Wales Unsung Hero is part of a UK-wide effort to find a great volunteer who has made a difference. Mr Derrick was nominated for the award by Bellevue players and his wife, Sam, who explained how he works to support the players on and off the pitch. Sam Derrick said:

“Delwyn has essentially become an unofficial ambassador for community cohesion and social integration. The club very quickly expanded from working solely within the foreign community to working with local people from perceived adverse backgrounds as he felt that he could create something bigger than just a football club. He has been building links around Wrexham solidly for three years now.”

Known as “Sheep” to the club’s players, Delwyn has been awarded a number of community awards for his work. One of the club’s players said:

“I’m an asylum seeker in this country and I’ve been part of the Bellevue family for a couple of months now. I’ve found camaraderie and support from team-mates and especially from Sheep, who’s been crucial for my integration.”

Presenting the BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of The Year Award for Unsung Hero to Delwyn Derrick, former Manchester United, Chelsea and Wrexham player Mickey Thomas said: “It’s amazing, incredible – all the hard work he’s put in. Some things go unnoticed but he’s been rewarded and I think deservedly so. He has done amazing work behind the scenes and some people don’t get that recognition. I’m made up that someone like him has got this award because he deserves it.”

Delwyn will officially receive the award at the Wales Sport Awards ceremony on Tuesday, 10 December at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport.

He will then represent Wales in the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero, joining other winners from Scotland, Northern Ireland and English regions. The overall UK winner will receive their award at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony live on BBC One on  Sunday 15 December.

Looking ahead, Delwyn’s wife Sam said:

“Delwyn’s plan for the future of the club is simple. To ensure that the club remains for everyone and anyone who needs it and hopefully to open up to other age groups and reach more people who would benefit from being part of the Bellevue family.”