#BigThankYou trended ahead of the X Factor final on Twitter
The nation’s army of sports volunteers have been recognised on national television and on Twitter.
During Sunday’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards viewers were encouraged to tweet their gratitude for the volunteer coaches and administrators who have helped many an athlete reach the peak of their career.
Using #BigThankYou thousands of sports stars, volunteers, players and organisations took to Twitter during the show and the hashtag trended worldwide, ahead of the X Factor final which was taking place at the same time.
In addition to the main Sports Personality of the Year award, the BBC also recognised community swimming coach Jill Sidever, awarding her the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award.
Sidever has dedicated the last 30 years to coaching swimming to children with disabilities and received a standing ovation from the audience as she was presented with her award by Eddie Izzard, patron of Join In (joininuk.org), an Olympic and Paralympic legacy charity that puts more volunteers into community sport.
Izzard said: “There are so many unsung heroes across the UK who are motivating others to get involved in sport. Whether it's an enthusiastic parent driving a team to training or a dedicated coach who gives their time to help out – it’s these super-volunteers that make sport happen.
“Every athlete will tell you how grateful they are to the volunteers throughout their careers. With each volunteer creating capacity for 8.5 additional participants in sport, it’s vital that we keep the volunteering spirit alive and help to develop the Sports Personality’s of the future.”
And after the awards, sports stars including Tom Daley, Rebecca Adlington, Chris Hoy, Nicola Adams, Rory McIlroy and Paula Radcliffe joined the comedian on the red carpet outside the event held at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro to telephone outstanding sports volunteers and say a #BigThankYou to them.