Untold Stories- Part 1- What is a Hero?

What comes across your mind when you think of a hero? Super powers? The Marvel action films or maybe a fireman saving a family from a house fire or a trapped car. We all are fed through television, films and media the things we think makes a hero.

In everyday life it’s not as easy to spot a hero, they are disguised much better then Clark Kent and most of their work goes pretty much unheard or unseen. At times we are often reminded and humbled by amazing work that seems to go on right under our noses by people that are close to us.

Introducing Ian Fennell, he certainly doesn’t have laser vision or wear his underpants over his trousers. Yet for 20 years this 35 year old  has worked within the community with young people. Some of them from difficult backgrounds and with a range of disabilities and conditions. Becoming a father himself he realised the role he plays working with young people and led him to start a young fathers group where he would give advice to young people starting a challenging period in their lives.

Speaking to Ian, who now works at Sale Sharks a prestigious Rugby club as a social inclusion officer for HITZ  Partington, helps me understand the impact he’s had not only In his work but in his personal life too.

Ian is also a national standard athlete and club record holder at the 100m running 10.8seconds, the first sub 11 runner in the history of the club (Manchester Harriers). He also was named athlete of the year 2016 and in his first competition he smashed his personal best in the 60m running 7.06 seconds. This puts Ian 4th overall in the UK in the V35 category. So speed is something that he does have in common with our favourite superheroes plus lots of Lycra.

In 2016 Ian was awarded the national champion award for going beyond the call of duty in his job. Among the highlights were helping a young girl come to terms with the death of her father, this seriously effected her education and prospects for the future. Working tirelessly Ian helped he with confidence and giving her the support she needed at a very difficult time and resulted in her getting full time employment and working through issues that held her back. A truly groundbreaking result for Ian and a massive achievement for her.

“This is much more then a job to me”

This story doesn’t just highlight to me something that he has done or something he feels he has to do because it’s his job. This highlights what kind of person he is. As an athlete and coach, he is a person who is committed to helping out with his Athletics club Manchester Harriers along with his twin brother Mikey to help youngsters realise their own potential sometimes until 9pm. After working all day and expending so much energy he always has patience and perseverance to find a way to help and get his point across in a relaxed and fun way, which appeals to everyone and puts them instantly at ease.

After talking to Ian in depth about the impact of being honoured with such a great award, he explains that he is proud of what he has personally achieved, yet humbly admits that he has had great support to allow him to do what he does and the award is just as much theirs as it is his.

In summary I’d like to really get across the point that we are more connected now as a society and as people then we ever have been before. That’s why I feel that sharing these true stories of amazing people who everyday do great work is so important. It may not be glamorous, but realise that people like Ian are out here and changing peoples lives everyday and I feel it is my duty to share with you a true example of unwavering hard work and perseverance!

My question was:  what you think a hero is?

 The definition of hero is:

“A person who is admired or idealised for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities”

I’d find it hard not to put Ian in this category. Not only has Ian made massive contributions to his community family and peers he is a massive inspiration to young people and his peers.

Hopefully your thoughts of what a hero is has changed somewhat after reading this story of A MAN making a real difference.

Thanks for Reading!



Ian- National Champ