Cycling enthusiast Rachael Halifax wins BBC Unsung Hero award in Scotland

Rachael Halifax - BBC Scotland's 2016 Unsung Hero
Rachael Halifax is BBC Scotland's Unsung Hero award winner for 2016

A cycling enthusiast from East Kilbride has won the 2016 BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero award in Scotland.

Rachael Halifax, 43, has been recognised for volunteering at cycling groups in Glasgow.

The clinical co-ordinator at Strathclyde University will attend the Sports Personality of the Year 2016 event in Birmingham on 18 December.

"I am lucky to be involved with these fantastic groups that do a great job of encouraging cycling," she said.

"The commitment and dedication of all those involved in running them is inspiring."

At Free Wheel North, based at Glasgow Green Cycling Centre, Rachael helps people with disabilities cycle using specially adapted bikes, teaches children and adults of all ages how to ride and helps to organise Breeze, a British Cycling programme aimed at increasing cycling participation among women.

Glasgow Riderz, a youth and junior cycling club for riders aged 7-18, is another group Rachael is involved with, focusing on the core skills and techniques of 9-11 year-olds.

Meet Rachael Halifax, a cycling enthusiast who has won Unsung Hero Scotland 2016

Free Wheel North project co-ordinator Carol Thompson nominated Rachael for the award and said: "Rachael's passion for cycling is infectious.

"She has inspired participants in all the groups that she volunteers in - kids, adults, ladies, people with disabilities, people who thought they wouldn't be able to ride a bike. Without Rachael volunteering there would be less people out on their bikes. There would not be as many people enjoying the outdoors, cycling with their families, cycling for recreation or commuting."

Now in its 14th year, the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero award celebrates people from around the UK who volunteer their time and efforts to help people participate in sport.

Panels have met to pick a winner in BBC Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and in each of the BBC's 12 English regions. The overall winner will be selected from those 15 and will be announced during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year programme, which will be broadcast on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

Head of Sport at BBC Scotland, Ewan Angus, said: "Rachael is a worthy winner of this accolade. She is an inspirational volunteer who makes a fantastic contribution to developing cycling in the community. We wish her the best of luck going for the UK-wide award at the big event next month."

And Rachael added: "I am delighted and grateful that I have received this award. I think it's great that the work of volunteers in giving so many people the chance to participate in sport is recognised by BBC Get Inspired."