'Blind Dave' Heeley crowned EFL Supporter of the Season

A graphic displaying the words 'Supporter of the Season Award, Blind Dave Heeley, West Bromwich Albion."

Albion Foundation Ambassador “Blind Dave” Heeley has been crowned Supporter of the Season at Sunday’s 2024 EFL Awards ceremony in London.

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.

“Blind Dave”, 66, has been an avid Baggies fan for over fifty years, having grown up and lived in West Bromwich his entire life, following the club since his youth.

Being visually impaired, Dave admits 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.

This season, Dave has raised over £30,000 for The Albion Foundation after completing the Hadrian’s Wall walk in the summer. Despite recovering from a full knee reconstruction, Dave remained committed to the challenge trekking over 80 miles and 130km across five days from Wallsend to Bowness, walking in high temperatures across tough terrain. 

Dave’s 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.

After collecting the award, Dave said: “I just couldn’t believe it, all I can say is thank you so much to everyone who nominated me, and to everyone at the EFL for welcoming me.”

An image of "Blind Dave" Heeley with his EFL Supporter of the Season Award

“If it was an Olympic tournament, I’ve met the podium, and I just want to thank everyone so much for all the nominations.”

Rob Lake, Director of the Foundation, added: “Dave is an incredible supporter of The Albion Foundation, he works tirelessly for the community and his fundraising achievements are frankly astounding.

“West Bromwich Albion is about so much more than football and Dave perfectly embodies that. I cannot think of someone more deserving of this award. Everyone at the Foundation is absolutely delighted for him and we are so grateful for his support and continued commitment to the local community.”

Donate to Dave’s next challenge, the Blind Walk from Wembley Stadium to The Hawthorns here.

West Bromwich Albion were also awarded the SkyBet Championship Community Club of the Season last month as part of the 2024 EFL Awards accolades.

In the past year, the Albion Foundation - the charitable arm of the football club – engaged with over 13,000 participants through a variety of projects and activities in the Sandwell area. A total of 21,732 sessions were delivered in 2023, with 434 per-week and over 38 hours of contact time per-participant. 

Ages of participants ranged from one through weekly mini Baggies football sessions, to 101 through Hawthorns hub and memories group sessions. 

To find out more about the work of The Albion Foundation and how you can support us click here.