Former Wilmslow teachers win BBC Unsung Heroes award

Two former Wilmslow teachers have won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero Award 2013, for their work promoting basketball in Manchester.

Joe and Maggie Forber were teachers at Wilmslow Grammar School For Boys (now Wilmslow High School) in the 70's and 80's, teaching PE and maths respectively.

For over 30 years they have provided organised basketball, catering for all abilities, at the Amaechi Basketball Centre in Whalley Range - where more than a thousand youngsters pass through a week.

Former NBA and England Basketball player John Amaechi, who the club is named after, said "It is their partnership that makes the place, it's Joe and Maggie who are the heart and soul of the place. It is them that you see on a daily basis, in here doing every single job from sweeping the floor through to checking the kids in on the register through to coaching. It is like they retired for about 8 seconds and then took on another job that is full time and a half."

He added "They genuinely care to make a difference. They are willing to put their bodies on the line and their health on the line to make sure just one more kid gets an opportunity."

On collecting his award in Leeds on Sunday 15th December, Joe Forber said "I really really don't know why I'm here. I feel privileged to be in such company. I have always been involved in sport. I have to mention my wife Maggie right at the beginning because we really have down it together, without Maggie it just wouldn't have happened."

Joe added "I want to say quite sincerely that I don't think we're any different from many many people, hundreds of thousands of people who do voluntary work, not just in sport, but in other things as well and I just think we're representing those people tonight. It is a privilege to be here."

Steve Fox, a former colleague at Wilmslow Grammar School, said "The Unsung Hero Award is very approporiate for Joe becuase not only was he a top professional and all round sportsperson but he was an unbelievably caring and modest man who gave everyone a chance. He was just a lovely bloke."

Alan Brough contacted us shortly after the result was announced. He said "As a former pupil, I am proud to see them recognised and proud to have been taught and encouraged by both of them."

Photo: BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Unsung Hero Award winners Joe & Maggie Forber, Nicola Adams and Gabby Logan. Photographer: Guy Levy. Image Copyright: BBC.