By Tony Dewhurst
Pat Talarek is football's Unsung Hero.
Pat was recognised at the Every Player Counts awards at the Birmingham NEC bmrb Grass Roots Football Show and presented her award by 1966 World Cup legend and Football Pools ambassador Roger Hunt for her work with Crewe Alexandra's mental health scheme, which she founded at Gresty Road ten years ago.
Since then, the scheme has gone from strength to strength, and although Pat retired as a NHS nurse last year, she continues to run the scheme in her own time.
The Every Player Counts scheme is a leading project of The Football League Trust, supported by The Football Pools, delivering a three-year disability programme to develop sporting opportunities for people with all types of disability.
Crewe's Football in the Community Officer Ray Walker said: "Pat is a remarkable lady and she fully deserves this award.
"Pat has dedicated time and money to the scheme and her commitment is outstanding.
"For example, Pat provides lunches for the participants of the scheme, washes the kit and organizes the annual Christmas dinner.
"This is what makes Pat the perfect Every Player Counts Unsung Hero."
Pat said: "The scheme has progressed each year and when I retired I didn't want to walk away so I do it in my own time now.
"There's a bit of a stigma surrounding mental health, but I tell them that sometimes you've got to will yourself to progress in your life and show the world that they can do other things."
The Football League Trust's National Project Manager Mike Evans said: "For the Unsung Hero award the panel are looking for an individual who is truly committed to their community team, either by giving up their time or expertise for no remuneration and without whom the team would not function. Pat encapsulates all of this and more, and we are proud for Pat to win this award on behalf of all of the Unsung Heroes who help make Every Player Count.''
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