16 Dec 2013
It was a privilege to be at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards in Leeds last night to celebrate an incredible year for British sport.
And congratulations go to Andy Murray for winning the top prize. After his sensational 2012, the nation had renewed hope that Murray could become the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years. And he delivered.
Andy Murray, with his dedication and determination, is a real inspiration to many young people. I hope that the Lawn Tennis Association can really harness that and get more people playing tennis next year.
Congratulations also go to Wales and the British Lions’ Leigh Halfpenny for coming second after the team’s incredible series win in Australia. The Lions’ thoroughly deserved the team of the year award, as did Warren Gatland for his coach of the year gong for masterminding the victory.
Sir Alex Ferguson is the greatest club manager British football has ever seen, and it was an honour to see him pick up theDiamond Award last night, surrounded by some of the Manchester United greats he managed.
Congratulations also to skeet shooting star Amber Hill for winning Young Sports Personality of the Year and for Joe and Maggie Forber who won the Sports Unsung Heroes prize for their fantastic work promoting basketball in the local community in Manchester.
Finally, it was an extremely moving posthumous Helen Rollason award.
Anne Williams tirelessly campaigned for justice for the 96 who died at Hillsborough in 1989, which included her son Kevin.
She did so with great dignity and spirit, right up to her death in April. The award was a fitting tribute to her work, which prompted the Hillsborough Independent Panel being set up and the original verdicts being quashed by the High Court last year, with new hearings to begin in 2014.