Ben picks up Football League accoladeSouthend United defender, Ben Coker has been awarded with The Football League’s Unsung Hero Award for February.
Coker is widely regarded for his performances on the pitch, but his tireless work off the field has been recognised with this award.
The accolade relates to the community work Ben has done to help raise awareness of diabetes in the local area.
The left back, an ambassador for charity Diabetes UK, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 15 years old.
Coker has to wear an insulin pump daily, and his blood sugar levels are checked at various points during training and matchdays.
The condition hasn’t stopped the defender from achieving his goals in sport, and he has visited various schools and hospitals in the Southend area trying to pass the same message on to aspiring youngsters.
Coker delighted to win the award, is pleased with that there is increasing levels of support for people with diabetes and is determined to do his bit to help spread the word.
“There is a lot support out there, the hospitals obviously try to do their best and there is also a lot of campaigns now out there. “ He said.
“They are trying their best to support diabetics, but it’s tough, so anything I can do to help get the word out there I will.
“I went to Southend hospital last week and met some children who had diabetes, and sometimes you can see in their faces that they are worried about it.
“When I was younger I was exactly the same, I didn’t know what it was so it was quite scary at the time.
“I’m just trying to tell them that you can live with it if you look after yourself and listen to the doctors.
“I just want to give something back, and give people belief and put a smile on their face.
“It’s a great recognition for me and the club. I just want to get the word out and help as many people as I can, but it’s great to win awards like this.”
Southend United Manager, Phil Brown was thrilled to see Ben win the award and says that it is one that is well deserved.
“I think it’s great for Southend United, but more importantly it’s great for Ben Coker.” Brown said
“To go out of his way to help others is special as far I’m concerned.
“There are a lot of players who would just brush it under the carpet but Ben is open about it and everybody asks him about it and he doesn’t mind.
“It’s not an ailment for him, it’s just something he has to do, and it’s great how open and honest he is doing the interviews, so getting recognition is first class for him.”