DMSF Reveals Manchester Champions of 2014

Article date: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 12:21 GMT

DMSF Manchester Champions

The Diane Modahl Sports Foundation (DMSF) has announced the three Manchester icons who will receive its City of Champions accolade this year.

Manchester United hero Rio Ferdinand, Sir Howard Bernstein and Sir Richard Leese - Chief Executive and Leader of Manchester City Council respectively - will receive their awards at the prestigious City of Champions Gala Dinner, sponsored by UKFast, in the autumn. They'll become the second wave of City Champions after the inaugural accolade was bestowed upon Britain's most decorated Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy, in 2013.

The news coincides with Ferdinand's return to football from injury, after he rejoined the Manchester United team on 12th February in a game against Arsenal. He has enjoyed a glittering career since joining the reigning Premiership champions in 2002 and has also notched up an impressive 81 England caps and three goals for his country.

In an obvious synergy with the DMSF, Ferdinand also boasts his own foundation which helps create opportunities for young people. He explained: "It's an honour to be recognised by the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation, an organisation with which I share so many values. I've always strived to put something back into the community and it's fantastic to see athletes like Diane doing the same.

"I am thrilled to have been chosen as a recipient of this year's City of Champions award and to have my efforts in the city recognised."

The other recipients, Sir Howard Bernstein and Sir Richard Leese, are longstanding friends and supporters of the DMSF. Sir Howard has played a pivotal role in the development of Manchester and one of his earliest achievements was the establishment of the Manchester Airports Group, almost 30 years ago. Working with Sir Richard in the 1990s, the pair has played a crucial role in the development of the city, securing the Commonwealth Games and presiding over the development of the necessary infrastructure that came with it.

Speaking of the announcement, Sir Howard said: "Manchester is a vibrant and diverse city and we have created so many champions in various disciplines - so it's an honour to have been chosen against the vast pool of candidates eligible for recognition in this way!"

Sir Howard was instrumental in the preparations for the inaugural 2013 City of Champions dinner which he hosted at the Town Hall. His first hand experience means he's looking forward to it continuing into its second year: "The dinner is a fantastic way of putting the spotlight on the city, celebrating the great and the good within it and most importantly raising funds for a fantastic cause."

Sir Richard Leese, whose knighthood was bestowed upon him in 2006 following his commitment to regenerating Manchester after the 1996 IRA bomb, added: "I am thrilled to join the list of City Champions and to accept this year's award with my colleague Sir Howard and Mr Ferdinand. We've each contributed to this great City in different ways and I am looking forward to celebrating that in September."

The Diane Modahl Sports Foundation, a registered charity set up by the former international athlete after whom it is named. It gives young people access to world class coaching and coaches, with the aim of creating further Champions of the future, whether they are in the arena of sport, business, culture, politics or any other. She is especially committed to working with young people and schools in disadvantaged areas.

Last year, Modahl launched the City of Champions concept to help further raise the charity's profile and funds. It is now an annual celebration of the many great sporting, business and cultural Champions the city has developed and nurtured. A plaque of the inductees will hang in the City of Champions Hall of Fame at the English Institute of Sport in Manchester.

"I am delighted that these Manchester icons will be inducted at our second City of Champions dinner and hope we'll once again attract the best of Manchester's sporting, business and cultural talents on the night."

Lawrence Jones, CEO of Manchester-based technology firm UKFast, who are sponsors of the City of Champions Gala Dinner, said: "Having supported DMSF for a long time now, we're excited to see the Foundation recognizing the icons of the city who are helping to develop the champions of the future.

"Last year's event was a truly special occasion and we're delighted to once again be involved."

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