BBC announces Rowing Stalwarts as Unsung Heroes – One identified with Parkinson‘s Disease


British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC, has announced two volunteers who were into coaching young rowers and novices for decades as the recipients of Get Inspired Unsung Hero Awards. Simon Gifford Mead has won the award for South West England and Graham Mark has won the Unsung Hero Award for the North East region of the country. Among these two, 68 year old Simon Gifford has been identified with Parkinson’s disease recently and yet continues to coach juniors class rowers till date.

David Beckham, former captain of England Football team congratulated both Simon and Graham for their support and service yielded to their respective rowing clubs and expressed his amazement about Simon Gifford continuing his junior crew coaching even after being identified with Parkinson’s disease.

Simon Gifford, who is a coach in a Devonshire club named Dart Totnes ARC for the past 25 years, has been heartily called as the 24/7 coach because of his warm hearted response to the needs of the crew members he trains, irrespective of the time or day. When asked about his Parkinson’s disease, Simon has only one thing to say – “There are two options, one is to sit in the corner and just disappear, the other is to carry on”.

Meanwhile Graham, who has been into coaching rowing crews in Cumbria for more than 40 years feels that if there are no “kids to coach”, he couldn’t just put the time in. He also says that everyone cannot be like Kat Copeland or Steve Redgrave, they can be the best of people around them as long as they bring in their best to what they do. He is currently the head coach of Talkin Tarn ARC and has coached numerous people who have succeeded in both domestic and national level races.

More information about the story of these two unsung heroes and what the sporting legend David Beckham has to say about them could be found in the BBC website.

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