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Sports Personality of the Year viewers were left in floods of tears after Fatima Whitbread gave a heartfelt speech after being awarded the Helen Rollason Award. Despite being abandoned as a baby and living in children’s homes in her early years, Fatima conquered the world and became a javelin champion in 1987.
Since then she has campaigned relentlessly to give children in care a voice and made that her number one priority during her speech. During her speech, she encouraged three of the teens who her charity had helped to stand for a round of applause, whilst many in the audience became tearful at her passion.
After watching a short video of her career and the achievements she has made throughout her life, Fatima was welcomed to the stage where she made a heartfelt speech.
She began: “I feel very nervous. I am no stranger to standing on a stage and speaking and firstly I would like to say thank you very much for having.
“I stand here and I represent the care system sector and celebrate our young children and the remarkable resilience that they show.
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“Children are our future, so if we can invest in them at an early age it will help decide what and who they become and society too.
“I am calling for fundamental change, one where our children today and tomorrow are safer, happier and healthier and that they may well reach their full potential one day too.”
Fatima concluded: “I am asking you to help me to make a difference, help these children have a better future with better outcomes.
“Let’s make a difference to these young children. Not just today or tomorrow but future generations way beyond ours too, it is so important that we work together.”
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Viewers of the show were left touched by her powerful speech and took to their X accounts, formerly know as Twitter, to comment.
Peter Guy said: “Had no idea about Fatima Whitbread’s story but that was hugely emotional. A more than deserving Helen Rollason award recipient.
“Speaking out about children in the UK’s care system was a brave and powerful message. #SPOTY.”
Steven Mills commented: “What a powerful, moving speech. Fatima Whitbread is such a force for good in this world. #SPOTY.”
Shona Rattray added: “Great speech by Fatima Whitbread about children in care and how they deserve a better future. “Well done Fatima for highlighting such an important issue. #betteroutcomes #SPOTY.”
@shawncbrown asked: “Fatima Whitbread is a truly amazing woman. How can you not like and respect her? #SPOTY.”
Katie Dunlop expressed: “Fatima Whitbread is a truly an exceptional person. One of my role models when I was a kid too #SPOTY.”
@krisbeanie noted: “What an absolutely inspirational woman Fatima Whitbread is #SPOTY.” (sic)
Sports Personality of the Year is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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