Former professional footballer has been commended for his anti-racism educational work and his impact as a role model for young people in the area.
Ex Newcastle United, Doncaster Rovers and Carlisle United player Richard Offiong said he felt ‘humbled’ by winning the Role Model of the Year award at the Pride of South Tyneside awards on Sunday 28th April. Richard was nominated for his work with young people to tackle racism.
Ged Grebby, who founded the charity, said: “After experiencing racism in his childhood and in his professional career, Richard has been helping young people by delivering Show Racism the Red Card workshops throughout the North East, inspiring them to challenge racism and preparing them to play an active role as a citizen in a multicultural society.
“He is not only a great role model as an ex-professional footballer, but as a resident of South Tyneside committed to tackling the issue of racism in society.”
Speaking about his experiences growing up in South Shields, Richard, who still lives in the town said “We experienced racism as a family when I was younger. My mam and sister would get shouted at in the street during the early 1980s, because there weren’t many black people in the area.
“I think that puts me in a good position to spread the message about how it affects people.
“It didn’t affect me, because I was too young at the time, but if affected my mother. It is not something anyone should have to go through, especially with a young family.
“I experienced it on the football field and it is still a topical issue. It is a place of work and you don’t expect to go to work to be abused.
“You wouldn’t expect it in any other job, so it is no different if you are a football player.
“It is an absolute honour to be nominated for a Pride of South Tyneside Award and very humbling when you think of all the inspirational people out there.”
The Pride of South Tyneside Awards, organised by the Gazette, South Tyneside Council and the Customs House, recognise the borough’s unsung heroes.
Ten awards were handed out at a glittering ceremony at the Temple Park Centre in South Shields on Sunday, April 28.
*Image courtesy of The Shields Gazette