AS football returns this weekend, Queens Park Rangers are keen to recognise our unsung heroes in the local community ahead of #QPRCommunityDay.
Community Day is run by the club to celebrate the local area and some of the people who have been excellent citizens of west London. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebrations were cut short in March. But the resumption of the league season has meant our restarting fixture with Barnsley will once again become our Community Day.
Before the pause, five unsung community heroes were nominated after receiving the most votes from R’s fans on www.qpr.co.uk and were due to be recognised at our home fixture with Barnsley – through a half-time pitch presentation.
As a result of the current social distancing rules in place, we as a club are unable to recognise their fantastic work in our usual ways. However, this is something we plan to do in the near future.
“To mark our Community Day, five unsung heroes who were nominated by QPR fans – were set to be honoured during a half-time pitch presentation back in March,” QPR in the Community Trust CEO Andy Evans explained.
“We wanted everyone to recognise their contribution to the local community and thank them for what they do for others, as its truly amazing.
Hopefully in the not too distant future we will be able to publicly thank them and give them the day that they deserve, but for now we wanted to celebrate the work they do through the powers of technology.”
This year’s Unsung Community Heroes:
In 2016, a few years after his niece Scarlett was born with cystic fibrosis, season ticket holder Nick started to run on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. With the support of friends, colleagues, business associates and corporate sponsorship from employer Compco Fire Systems, his fundraising has surpassed £23,800 following the completion of marathon #42 in Texas. Scarlett is now eight years old and continues to manage and take her illness in her stride. She continues to motivate Nick’s running and he is already planning for marathon 100!
Former National League player Frank founded highly-successful basketball club Westside Basketball in 2000. Westside have worked with QPR since 2003 and, in 2011, Frank set up junior club Westside Rangers to develop local young people and provide them with opportunities to excel through sport – with players progressing to represent Great Britain and England and many thriving academically and socially. More recently he became involved in the One London Basketball project, set up at Kensington Leisure Centre after the Grenfell Fire, with more than 300 young people (7-19) training weekly.
Tom has been serving the QPR community for the last 54 seasons – a familiar face to so many R’s fans who have known him as ‘Tom the Loft steward’. His first job was to stop children climbing the old floodlights at the Loft End and he is currently the disabled section steward in South Africa Road. He also served the residents of the Edward Woods Estate in North Kensington and Queen Caroline Estate in Hammersmith as an employee of Hammersmith & Fulham Council for over 30 years. Tom will be 85 in October, a great grandfather in May and will be attending this weekend's game with grandson Deane.
In 2019, local artist Mellezia founded The RENA Initiative to Recognise, Empower & Nurture Artists (RENA). One of the main objectives of this social enterprise is to establish free visual art programmes in disadvantaged communities to improve mental health and wellbeing, reduce social isolation and generate community cohesion. Mellezia was raised on White City Estate and her love for this community led to her establishing ‘The RENA Initiative presents: The WoWC’ (Women of White City), a free visual arts project for women who are unemployed, isolated or elderly.
Before becoming a full-time carer, Angela was a secondary school teacher and former player of QPR FC Women. She is a regular participant in the Women of White City project – the aforementioned programme of painting workshops for women – and a lifelong supporter of QPR. One of the many dedicated carers looking after a family member who has a physical illness or disability, Angela is an extraordinary woman, the epitome of an unsung hero and an individual who represents the carer community – often unrecognised for their invaluable contribution to society – wonderfully well.