The daughter of football legend Jeff Astle has been honoured with a Special Recognition Award at this year’s Pride of Birmingham Awards 2023. Dawn Astle will receive the award this evening, in recognition of her efforts to raise awareness of neurodegenerative diseases in sport.
Former West Brom and England striker Jeff Astle was 59 when he passed away due to early onset dementia – a diagnosis which, as revealed by a post-mortem, was due to multiple brain injuries caused by heading footballs.
Jeff’s daughter, Dawn Astle, aged 55, has long campaigned on the issue, and launched the Jeff Astle Foundation in 2015 to raise awareness of brain injury in sport and to offer support to those affected. Since its launch, the foundation has identified over 600 footballers who have suffered the same diagnosis as Jeff and has supported hundreds of families of former players living with dementia.
The campaign had a major breakthrough when the FA and PFA announced plans to commission an investigation in 2017. Their findings revealed former footballers are three and a half times more likely to die from neurodegenerative disease.
Thanks to Dawn’s efforts, and the efforts of those involved in the foundation, the FA has introduced new concussion protocols and banned children under 12 from heading the ball in training. The PFA has also introduced a dedicated dementia department, to offer support for players with neurodegenerative diseases.
To honour her campaigning efforts, Dawn will tonight receive a Special Recognition Award at the BirminghamLive Pride of Birmingham Awards with TSB 2023.
The event is being presented by Kym Marsh, who comments: “This is such an amazing group of winners. Their courage, selfless dedication, inspiration and kindness are exactly what the world needs right now. Hearing their incredible stories can’t fail to inspire you, and restore your faith in humanity. I can’t wait to meet them.”
BirminghamLive Pride of Birmingham Awards with TSB returns for another year and will welcome star-studded guests including Strictly Come Dancing’s Amy Dowden, Love Island’s Alex and Olivia Bowen, actor David Bradley, and musicians Ruby Turner and Tony Iommi, to name a few.
Other winners include:
- Child of Courage: Finley Hassall, aged 11 from Kingswinfoord – saved a boy’s life using the RNLI’s ‘Float To Live’ technique.
- Stephen Sutton Inspiration Award: Eva Abley, aged 14 from Cannock – a teenager with cerebral palsy who made it to the finals of Britain’s Got Talent with her comedy routine
- Emergency Services Award: Deena Evans and Michael Hipgrave, aged 41 and 52 from Wolverhampton – two paramedics who were attacked by a knifeman when attending a wellness check with the police.
- Outstanding Contribution: Chris Hoare, aged 75 from Edgbaston – formed the Birmingham Southwest Community Group in the early noughties to reform his crime-ridden estate.
- Lifetime Achievement: Reverend Canon Eve Pitts from Birchfield, Birmingham – made The Church of England’s first black female vicar in 1994, and has since spent decades supporting parishioners, challenging racism, and calling out institutional prejudice in her own faith.
- TSB Community Hero: Asha Rage, aged 45 from Small Heath – set up Dream Chasers FC in Small Heath to help get young people off the streets, which now has 160 players training weekly.
- Triumph Over Adversity: The Chatting Family, from Lichfield – started the charity Carter The Brave and have raised over £330,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
- Special Recognition Award: Delores and Hector Pinkney, 71 and 70 from Handsworth – established the UK’s first independent Black organisation, The African Caribbean Self-Help Organisation, and the Dojo Project, which helps elderly people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
- Spirit of Birmingham: The Commonwealth Games Volunteers – the army of 14,000 volunteers, without whom the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games couldn’t have happened.
On their partnership with the awards, Jodie O’Leary, Customer Services Director at TSB, said: “At TSB, we pride ourselves on being at the heart of the communities we serve, and the Pride of Birmingham awards are all about recognising the everyday heroes in those communities. As a proud Brummie myself, it is a huge honour to be part of the judging panel and is truly a humbling and heart-warming experience to hear the amazing stories behind every one of the nominees.”
The Birmingham Live Pride of Birmingham Awards with TSB is available to watch from 9 March, via the official Pride of Britain social media channels: @prideofbritain. To find out more, visit: www.prideofbritain.com/birmingham.