FROM a former boxing legend to a record breaking local cricketer - here is your two finalists for the Sporting Hero award.

First of the two is former national boxing coach Ian Irwin.

Mr Irwin was the one in Audley Harrison’s corner when the British super-heavyweight struck Olympic gold in Sydney.

The 76-year-old has had boxing in his blood since he was 13.

The British boxing coach supported boxers at an impressive three Olympic Games and six Commonwealth Games taking on the role of full-time national coach from 1989.

Mr Irwin said: "Boxing has been a massive part of my life and has given me massive amounts of confidence.

"It teaches you how to have the utmost respect for your opponent as there is a strong code of conduct in the sport.

"Coaching also allows you to help others reach their full potential and how to have the right psychological attitude that includes having confidence, desire and determination.

"I still help out at Windermere Boxing Club despite having some difficulties with my sight."

His nomination came from Simone Backhouse who said: "What can I say, I have the most respect for Ian.

"He’s a quiet guy , unassuming disciplined and always sociable when he meets me on the road.

"He is an inspiration to us all. The young people who attend the boxing club work alongside Ian but I don’t think they nor a number of the extended community really truly knows what he has achieved in his life for us locally and for us as a Country."

The other finalist is John Atkinson who has been a member of Lindal Moor Cricket club for over 26 years.

One nomination came from his wife Sharon who said: "He does so much for the club, including being a first team player at 52 and being club secretary for over 26 years. John is the groundsman for the club and in between playing, training and meetings, he’s at the club just about every day sat on the mower or roller, painting outfield lines or preparing wicket squares.

"As a player, John continues to take wickets for the club’s first team a year after he smashed the club’s all time record for top wicket holder, taking the title away from Ray Herman, a tremendous player of his time.

"He asks for no thanks or praise. He’s an amazing husband, dad, player, supporter, organiser and groundsman who truly deserves some recognition."