Express & Star

Watch: Blind Dave recognised for fundraising excellence as Albion supporter of the season

It was a big night for an inspirational fundraiser and community leader as he received a special award for his devotion to the Baggies.

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West Bromwich Albion fan "Blind" Dave Heeley was given the award of the Supporter of the Season at the 2024 EFL Awards ceremony in London.

He was among an audience of more than 1,000 people at the Grosvenor Hotel in London for the awards ceremony, which acknowledged the best of the players from the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as community and club volunteers who had been given awards.

The Supporter of the Season Award seeks to provide recognition and praise for a passionate and loyal supporter, who has demonstrated their support, dedication and commitment to their Club, its community and fellow supporters.

His fundraising efforts have been done in the name of the club he loves. He's pictured here with Baggies legends Tony Brown and Ally Robertson at the Hawthorns. Photo: Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images

Dave Heeley has been an avid West Bromwich Albion fan of more than fifty years, having grown up and lived in West Bromwich his entire life, following the Club since his youth.

Being visually impaired, Dave said it would be easy for him to sit at home and listen to games on the radio, but he attends every home game at The Hawthorns and enjoys being part of the crowd, soaking up the atmosphere.

He said the awards ceremony was a brilliant occasion and spoke about being there on the night.

He said: "It was brilliant to be there on Sunday night at the Grosvenor Hotel with some fantastic people being recognised and I just happened to be one of them.

"A lot of great people were there being recognised and I was given my award by Ben Shepherd, who was really nice."

This season, Dave has raised more than £30,000 for The Albion Foundation after completing the Hadrian’s Wall walk in the summer, despite recovering from a knee operation,

Dave Heeley has taken on a number of fundraising challenges for the Albion Foundation

He remained committed to the challenge, trekking more than 80 miles across five days from Wallsend to Bowness, walking in high temperatures across tough terrain.

His fundraising efforts have helped the Foundation to expand what they offer to the community, with a vast disability sports programme now in place, including Powerchair Football, Blind Football, Cerebral Palsy Football, PAN Disability Football, SEND multi-sport holiday camps and sessions.

Ever modest about his achievements, Dave said that when he lifted his award up, he was doing it on behalf of everyone who had helped him and supported him along the way.

He said: "I won supporter of the year, but as far as I'm concerned, I lifted that trophy on behalf of every fan in the ground and every fans who listens on the radio and watches on TV.

"It's lovely to be able to lift a trophy like that and I feel very proud and privileged, but for me, I've lifted that on behalf of all the fans of West Bromwich Albion."