A running coach has been awarded the British Citizen Award for his services to the community.

Vinod Patel, from Enfield, was recognized at the Palace of Westminster on Thursday, January 23 as an ‘exceptional individual’ who has had a positive impact on the community .

Mr Patel, 72, has been coaching local runners in Enfield for the past 40 years, free of charge.

He believes everyone should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential, so started his own group called ‘Freedom Runners’.

He devotes much of his time putting together individual training schedules for people running in competitive races and also provides programmes for those with smaller goals. 

Mr Patel coaches a group of runners of all ages, sizes, nationalities and abilities and encourages all members of the group to include friends and family.

His medal presentation was hosted at the House of Lords by TV’s Michael Underwood who, together with Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, is a patron of the British Citizen Award, which was established in 2015.

Mr Patel was presented his medal by Wendy Pretten, managing director of sponsors Places for People Homes, who said: “The British Citizen Awards shine a spotlight on those inspirational people who are committed to making a difference and improving the lives of others, and it is a privilege for Places for People to have been a supporter since its formation in 2015.

“I was delighted to present Vinod with his award after hearing about his dedication to coaching and ensuring the local community, whatever their ability, can access first class training, enjoy keeping fit and make social connections. His efforts are truly admirable and he thoroughly deserves this recognition.”