I was delighted to see that my old friend Frank O’Sullivan had won the BBC Midlands regional Unsung Hero award last week. The honour was richly deserved. Frank runs the Birmingham City ABC, although it was the Ladywood ABC when he started, and has done for 61 years yes since 1956 Frank has been getting our kids off the streets and giving them a purpose in life.
He has also nurtured and or trained World champions such as Kal Yafai, GB team trainer Robert McCracken, Hughie Ford, and Kostas Petrou to name a few. The current president is Paddy Lynch, who trained many champions himself, and was also a young boxer there in 1958.
Frank has also coached the England squad and been a Director of Boxing for Schools and has worked with Ricky Hatton, and Amir Khan.
However, despite Frank’s love and knowledge of boxing and the respect he has from the boxing community worldwide, it’s his social services community work that shouts out at me. Let me explain! Not every youngster Franks takes into his Birmingham gym is a champion or in many cases even a good boxer. However Frank instils discipline, respect, and confidence and shows them a different pathway to the one many of them might have taken. He is still in the Gym six nights a week working and inspiring yet another generation of youngsters.
You could sit and talk to Frank for hours about boxing and the Birmingham City ABC and be equally enthralled and entertained as well as humbled and inspired.
The Regional Unsung Hero award is absolutely brilliant and richly deserved hopefully Frank will go on and win the National award which is held in a few weeks.
However if there was a Social Worker of the Year award then Frank would certainly win that one hands down. I am sure our courts have been less busy because of the time, commitment, advice and love Frank has shown every youngster who has been in the gym over the past 61 years.
Not only does boxing owe Frank O’Sullivan a lot but the City of Birmingham owes him so much too and in my opinion they should consider rewarding him with the Freedom of The City.