BEST OF WEARSIDE: Former Sunderland manager in line for award

Len Ashurst

Len Ashurst

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WHAT a week it has been for footballing hero Len Ashurst.

The 75-year-old collected a crystal trophy on Saturday at the Stadium of Light as he was formally inducted into the League Managers’ Association Hall of Fame’s 1000 club, as one of just 23 managers to have reached the landmark of 1,000 competitive games.

Now, he has been nominated in the Lifetime Achievement category of the Sunderland Echo Best of Wearside Awards.

He said: “It is lovely. It would be great to win and it is very nice to be nominated. I am grateful.”

Len, who is from Merseyside, has had a 57-year affinity with the North-East. He came to the region in 1957 at 18 years old when he had just been released by Liverpool. He joined Sunderland and played 458 games for the Black Cats, later becoming manager.

He also became an assessor of referees for 12 years. After his footballing career, he lived in Monmouth before returning to the North-East ten years ago. He committed himself to three causes which were the Sunderland Sports Fund, Whitburn Cricket Club and under-privileged people in the Sunderland area. Len said: “I am not a North-East lad but I have adopted the North-East as my home. I love the people, I love the area.”

Len joins an ever-growing list of fantastic entrants in this year’s Best of Wearside awards but we want more.

And with the deadline for nominations still around two weeks away, there is plenty of time for people to come forward with their favourites.

Whether it is a community hero, green champion, fantastic fundraiser or sporting hero, we want to hear about them all.

The awards, held in association with Gentoo, will culminate in a grand finale at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, November 19.

For now, though, we want you to get in touch with your very own heroes before the closing date for nominations.

Whatever the story, we know there are heroes galore out there who are worthy of awards. Tell us all about them.

•Enter your nominations here