WITH no sport currently being played, the Echo is keen to celebrate the unsung heroes who play a big part in our local community.

The first to be nominated is Frankie Banks who continues to play a big part behind the scenes at Southend United.

Here Nathan Carr, the media and marketing officer at Blues’ Community and Educational Trust explains why Banks deserves to be recognised for his efforts.

“Frankie founded Southend United Community & Educational Trust in the early 1990s as a way of utilising the power of Southend United in the local area and making a positive difference to people’s lives.

“The Trust became an official registered charity in 2004. “Frankie became the club’s first ever Football in the Community Officer before retiring from the role at the age of 63.

“He is the face of our Senior Shrimpers and Walking Football programmes, supporting local elderly people to manage and overcome social isolation and keep fit; giving numerous hours of his time to support what we do.

“He also attends all of our Prince’s Trust Team graduation ceremonies, handing out certificates to students and passing on advice for the future.

“He regularly comes into the community offices to say hello to all staff and even gives out free chocolate to stewards at every home matchday as a thank you for their work.

“Without Frankie setting up the Trust in the first place, it wouldn’t exist.

“It has grown from humble beginnings into a 40 plus employee organisation, with staff across Sports Participation, Health and Wellbeing, Education and Training and Community Cohesion.

“He has been a constant at the Trust since its inception.

“He has been helping us for just up to two decades.

“He has been associated with Southend United for more than 60 years, starting out as a player before going into management and community work.”

To nominate your unsung sporting hero please email chris.phillips@newsquest.co.uk