Black Country Bloke named as Hometown Hero

Kevin (centre) with the Black Country Blokes

A mental health podcaster is on of four people from the Black Country named as a Hometown Hero for inspiring local champions of community sport in the West Midlands and celebrated by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The campaign celebrates and recognises the diversity of the region by shining a spotlight on those that go above and beyond to develop sport, encourage participation and promote physical and mental wellbeing in their community.
After receiving hundreds of nominations from the public, the list of Hometown Heroes includes 14 selfless individuals, made up of coaches, managers, umpires, and fundraisers, who have dedicated their lives to grassroots sport in the West Midlands. 
As well as his work with the Black Country Blokes mental health podcast, Kevin Dillon is the head coach at family-run Lions Amateur Boxing Club in Brierley Hill. He contracted viral meningitis, which left him visually-impaired from a young age and despite not being able to compete in boxing, Kevin channelled his efforts into coaching instead.

In his 19 years coaching, Kevin has aimed to get the best out of the hundreds of boxers he’s worked with, both physically and mentally. Kevin also launched a podcast in 2019 called 'Black Country Blokes' which covers topics such as mental health, physical health, fitness, work, family and life in general, aiming to remove the stigma around taboo subjects. The podcast will soon be developed into a radio show as part of a new station launching in June.

Bringing this ethos into his boxing gym, Kevin recently set up a men’s talking support group which involves an hour of training, followed by an hour to sit together and chat openly about whatever is on their mind. 

Other recipients include Haseebah Abdullah, England’s first hijab-wearing boxing coach and an incredible ambassador for womens sport; Ranjit Singh, head coach of Wolverhampton Wresting Club based at the Guru Nanak Satsang Gurdwara which he transformed into a foodbank and distribution service during the first lockdown

Black Country legend Dave Heeley OBE, or ‘Blind Dave’ as he is more commonly known, lost his sight at a young age but he never let this hold him back. One of his greatest achievements was when he became the first blind man to run seven marathons on seven continents in just seven days, raising staggering amounts of money for charity in 2008.
To celebrate their inclusion, each Hometown Hero will be profiled on Birmingham 2022’s website and social media channels over the coming weeks and will each receive a special glass award to mark their achievement. 

To mark the announcement, former Birmingham Poet Laureate and four-times Birmingham and Midland boxing champion Matt Windle has written and performed a spoken word poem, entitled Hometown Hero. The piece is inspired by the Hometown Heroes’ stories and reflects their drive and determination to support participation in grassroots sport in their communities. 
Birmingham 2022 launched the search for Hometown Heroes in October 2020, welcoming nominations for those that always the extra mile to develop sport in their local community.
The announcement comes as applications to volunteer at Birmingham 2022 will open on 1st June 2021. 13,000 spirited, dedicated and dynamic volunteers are required to be the heartbeat of the Commonwealth Games, and will become a community of passionate people that help deliver the biggest sporting and cultural event the West Midlands has ever seen.
Volunteering at Birmingham 2022 is an opportunity to give something back, inspire a generation and be a part of something special - like the Hometown Heroes do every day. Ahead of applications going live, more information on the volunteer criteria, commitment required, the selection process and training programme can be found at Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022, said:

“I’m in awe of our 14 Hometown Heroes. Their generosity to their club, whether that’s giving up their time or just being a listening ear, is inspiring. Birmingham 2022 promises to be the Games for Everyone, and whilst it’ll be an event that brings together the best athletes in the world, we are also aiming to inspire the next generation.

"Shining the spotlight on these devoted individuals will no doubt encourage participation in sport and physical activity across the West Midlands.”
For more information on Hometown Heroes and to read the individual stories, you can visit


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