Johnny Cantor: Everyone needs a local hero to look up to

Whenever I see Donald Trump at the moment on TV, and that is quite often, I am taken to a film from the 80s.

Solly March. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst
Solly March. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

Younger readers may need to search to find it mind you. Local Hero was a favourite of mine – quirky, comic but with meaning. It follows an American oil company rep who is sent to a fictional Scottish village to purchase the village and the surrounding property.

As we find out, everyone needs a local hero. When I say that I mean not just a favourite film but someone to emulate, someone to look up to. We don’t always take someone from our community, town, city, county or country to our hearts but when we do, it is the ultimate inspiration.

He or she may have been someone we know, went to school with or just even used to see around where you live. I still believe sportsmen and sportswomen want to play, ride for or represent their local club or team.

In recent weeks, several new deals have been awarded to local players. At Brighton & Hove Albion Solly March, from Hailsham, has signed a new long-term contract. At Sussex Cricket Club there has been a stream of young local talent handed new deals.

We have also seen the retirement of Lewis Hatchett of Shoreham. This summer, Team GB’s Maddie Hinch hit the headlines at the Olympics. The Seagulls Powerchair team are off to compete in Europe. In athletics, Charlie Grice from Brighton was photographed for the front page of an athletics magazine.

Champion jockey Ryan Moore and his family, who are based at Lower Beeding, have featured in the national newspapers ahead of tomorrow’s Champions Day at Ascot. Snooker player Mark Davis, from St Leonards, has notched century breaks this week on the baize at the English Masters in Manchester.

Golfer Ben Evans, from Staplecross, tees it up at the British Masters at the Grove this week on the European Tour.

I won’t go on and on but whatever your sport it seems Sussex has a hero for you. You might argue not all are right at the top of their sport, but they are important. They are tangible. They train or began training near where you live or work. They might shop at the same places or go to the same cinema.

They also give everyone the belief, young or old, that they too can compete at a decent, if not elite level. We all start somewhere and that somewhere might be where you live. They may move on, train at different facilities, compete across the world, but a local hero is the ultimate hero.

I won’t spoil the plot for those who haven’t seen the film but a resolution and a way forward is found for the village and the company. And, yes, everyone needs a local hero.

Johnny Cantor covers Brighton & Hove Albion as a commentator and reporter for BBC Sussex Sport.

Follow all the action, home or away, on BBC Sussex Sport or Twitter: @BBCSussexSport or @johnnycburger

To read more by Johnny Cantor, visit

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