Football legend honoured for public service work

Welsh football’s goalkeeping great, Neville Southall, will this evening receive an award in recognition of his campaigning for social justice and championing of marginalised groups.

Neville is amongst eight recipients of special UNISON awards tonight (Thursday 5 July), at the Cardiff City stadium. The trade union will celebrate the individual contributions of public service workers at a gala dinner in the company of Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething AM and Local Government Minister Alun Davies AM.

The event is being held on the seventieth anniversary of the foundation of the National Health Service. Aneira Thomas, the first person born after the birth of the NHS, is a special guest and diners will be entertained by the Tenovus charity’s cancer choir.

UNISON’s prestigious Regional Awards are presented to Welsh public service workers in recognition of the valuable contribution they make in their workplace. Candidates have been nominated by their peers for ‘going the extra mile’, being a positive role model for colleagues, helping to make the NHS a national treasure and keeping local services running despite brutal spending cuts by the UK Westminster government.

Margaret Thomas, UNISON assistant general secretary said,

“Neville was a hero for so many on the football field and now he’s a champion for quality public services and the people who work in them. His campaigning work is everything that’s best about UNISON, the need to invest in public services to help alleviate poverty and standing up for those who don’t normally have a voice.

“He’s not the only winner tonight. We’re presenting awards to eight UNISON members who have shown outstanding commitment to delivering public services in their communities. We all know about the pressures on today’s NHS and how severe spending cuts are placing an intolerable strain on local authorities; it is the everyday dedication of all public service workers who keep our communities going. They’re remarkable people. They are our public service champions.”

Notes to editors

  • The Awards and their winners:         

Organising and Recruitment – Michael Openshaw,  North Wales Health (Betsi Cadwaldr)               

Learning Rep – Denise Owen, Ceredigion County

Equality Rep  – Tansaim Hussain-Gul, Cymru Wales & South Gas (British Gas)

Health and Safety – Ceri Williams, Welsh Ambulance

Billy Liddon – Philip Warlow, Ymlaen Forward

One Team Award – Ymlaen Forward Branch, Ymlaen Forward                            

David Galligan* – Neville Southall, Blaenau Gwent                   

Campaigning Award, Cymru Wales Young Members Forum

Highly Commended (Organising and Recruitment ) – Aileen Bolt,                      South Wales Police & Justice

*Dave Galligan was a former UNISON head of health and a charismatic figure in the Welsh trade union movement.