Croydon and Sutton footballer awarded for dedication to sport
A footballer who was left brain-damaged after being set-upon by a group of thugs while on holiday has won a Spirit of London Award.
Robbie Hughes was recognised in the Achievement Through Sport category on Saturday for his dedication to the sport after his attack.
Mr Hughes, 29, was savagely beaten into a coma while holidaying in Crete.
The former Sutton United and Croydon Athletic player needed four life-saving operations after the attack in Malia in June 2008.
After Mr Hughes returned home he was told by doctors he would never play football again.
In July 2009 he was given permission to return to competitive football on the condition that he wore a protective head guard and accepted responsibility for any potentially fatal knocks to his skull.
Mr Hughes, of Wallington, who can hardly recall any of his life between the ages of 20 and 27, dreams of setting up his own football academy.
The SOLA awards wwere set-up by the family of Damilola Taylor, who was killed by a group of youths after leaving a library in Peckham in 2000.
The young Nigerian, who had only been in the country for a matter of weeks, bled to death on a stairwell after being beaten up by a group of youths.
The Damilola Taylor trust was set-up and went on to create the SOLA awards.
Also from Croydon, Hayley Rea, creator of the Aim High Dance Academy, was nominated for the Achievement Through the Arts category.
Miss Rea and Mr Hughes were whittled down from over 3000 applicants to just three in their respective categories.
Miss Rea's dance school, currently in Lambeth, is opening a Croydon branch in the new year.