An inspirational Widnes transplant recipient who has helped countless former patients improve their physical and mental health through football has been nominated for a national award.

Stevie Woodrow started Transplant Football in 2015 with the first ever transplant club registered with the FA. The side was made up of people who had received kidney, liver, heart, lung and stem cell transplants and its aim was to provide more opportunities for patients to get fitter mentally and physically after transplantation and get back into sport.

Transplant football has since spread around the country and the world, and in 2022 England Transplant Football Club was formed. The game was also included in the British and European Games in 2022 and the World Transplant Games in 2023.

And because of his work, Stevie - a double kidney transplant recipient himself - has now been nominated for a National Diversity Award as a role model in the disability category.

Stevie said: “Over the last seven years after receiving my life-saving kidney transplant, I have developed the transplant football pathway to give more opportunities for organ and stem cell recipients and dialysis patients to get back into sports to get mentally and physically fitter.

"It started in 2016 with a charity match against the TV stars Hollyoaks at the DCBL Stadium, to raise awareness of the British Transplant Games and looking for players to get involved in the Cheshire and Liverpool regions.

"We now have four teams competing in the Ability Counts leagues in Liverpool, three of which are at the top of the leagues this year. I had the honour of being awarded LCFA Grassroots Coach of the Year for Adults in 2022. Which was amazing as voted by the people I have worked with and coached.”

Stevie has also brought together a team of professional coaches and volunteers from inside and outside the transplant community to assist with the England team. Football camps now run regularly from St Georges Park in  Staffordshire,  home of the England Football teams, and there are now transplant football pathways for ages 11-16, 16+ and Walking Football for women 40+ and Men 50+.

Halton MP Derek Twigg has also called on the borough to throw its weight behind Stevie and cast their votes for him online.

He said: “I am immensely proud of the terrific work that Stevie has done in our community and I am very pleased that he is being recognised in these awards.

"Patients who have received transplants can have a difficult recovery which makes getting back into sport and fitness harder.

"This project is making that journey far easier for people in our community. Now that Stevie has been nominated, I hope that Halton can come together to give him the support he needs to win.”

For more information and to vote for Stevie Woodrow, click here