Matt Ratana’s rugby mates are rallying around to get the murdered Croydon police officer honoured at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.
Thousands of rugby players from across the south-east, including members of Old Walcountians, where Ratana played and coached, and Warlingham have been encouraged to make the online nomination for the annual Unsung Hero category at the end-of-year “SPOTY” ceremony.
Sergeant Ratana was shot in the chest and killed in the line of duty on September 25 at Croydon’s Windmill Road custody centre. New Zealand-born Ratana, 54, had served in the capital’s police force for nearly 30 years and was just weeks away from retirement.
In his spare time he had played rugby to a decent level and continued to be involved in coaching at local clubs, most recently as head coach at East Grinstead RFC, where he was on the touchline coaching on the evening before the shooting.
His clubmates there have been circulating other clubs to get them to help get Ratana’s name writ large on one of the year’s most-watched television programmes.
“This would be a fitting tribute to this wonderful man,” they said. “Let’s make this happen in the memory of a great man!”
East Grinstead player Max Crawley-Moore said: “He had an enormous impact on everyone from how they played, how they could progress, mentally, physically.
“We want to make sure his legacy is remembered by this… and the next generation of players see what’s been made possible by Matt.”
Ryan Morelen, assistant head coach at East Grinstead, said, “He put his time and effort into everything he’s ever done here.”
The Unsung Hero Award seeks to celebrate volunteers whose efforts have meant sports clubs have made a positive impact in local communities.
The winner will be announced live at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards on December 13.
To add your name to the nominations for Sgt Matt Ratana, go to the BBC website for Sports Personality by clicking here.
When filling in the form please include the following details:
Postcode: RH19 4JU
Telephone: 01342 322338
Voting closes on October 25.
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