May 6, 2014 by News

Rio Ferdinand receives City of Champions accolade

DSC_2473The Diane Modahl Sports Foundation (DMSF) has announced that three Manchester icons will receive its City of Champions accolade this year.

Manchester United hero Rio Ferdinand, Sir Howard Bernstein and Sir Richard Leese – Chief Executive and Leader of Manchester City Council respectively – will receive their awards at the City of Champions Gala Dinner sponsored by UKFast in the autumn.

404 Not Found They will become the second wave of City Champions after the inaugural accolade was bestowed upon Britain’s most decorated Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy, in 2013.

Rio Ferdinand has enjoyed a glittering career since joining Manchester United in 2002, and has also notched up 81 England caps and three goals for his country.

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In an obvious synergy with the DMSF, Ferdinand also runs his own foundation which helps create opportunities for young people.

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He explained: “It’s an honour to be recognised by the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation, an organisation with which I share so many values.

“I’ve always strived to put something back into the community and it’s fantastic to see athletes like Diane doing the same. I am thrilled to have been chosen as a recipient of this year’s City of Champions award and to have my efforts in the city recognised.“

Other recipients Sir Howard Bernstein and Sir Richard Leese are longstanding friends and supporters of the DMSF. Sir Howard has played a pivotal role in the development of Manchester.

One of his earliest achievements was the establishment of the Manchester Airports Groups almost 30 years ago.

Working with Sir Richard in the 1990’s, the pair have played a crucial role in the City securing the Commonwealth Games and presiding over the development of the necessary infrastructure that came with it.

Sir Howard said: “Manchester is a vibrant and diverse city and we have created so many champions in various disciplines – so it’s an honour to have been chosen against the vast pool of candidates eligible for recognition in this way!“ Sir Howard was instrumental in the preparations for the inaugural 2013 City of Champions dinner which he hosted at the Town Hall.

His first-hand experience means he’s looking forward to it continuing into its second year: “The dinner is a fantastic way of putting the spotlight on the city, celebrating the great and the good within it and most importantly raising funds for a fantastic cause.“

The Diane Modahl Sports Foundation, a registered charity set up by the former international athlete after whom it is named.

It gives young people access to world class coaching and coaches, with the aim of creating further champions of the future, whether they be in the arena of sport, business, culture, politics or any other.

She is especially committed to working with young people and schools in disadvantaged areas.

Last year, she launched the City of Champions concept to help further raise the charity’s profile and funds. It is now an annual celebration of the many great sporting, business and cultural Champions the city has developed and nurtured.

A plaque of the inductees will hang in the City of Champions Hall of Fame at the English Institute of Sport in Manchester.

Diane Modahl said: “I am delighted that these Manchester icons will be inducted at our second City of Champions dinner and hope we’ll once again attract the best of Manchester’s sporting, business and cultural talents on the night.“

The event will be hosted on Saturday 20th September at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester.