Former Brentford player Allan Cockram has been recognised for setting up the Brentford Penguins, a football team of children with Down’s syndrome, receiving the Unsung Hero award for The Sun’s Who Cares Wins.

Cockram, who played for the Bees between 1988 and 1991, was surprised with the award by former professional footballer, David Beckham and his son Romeo, who plays for the Brentford B team, at the Gtech Community Stadium.

David and Romeo also took the time to play football with the group of Brentford Penguins players, who were with Cockram when the award was presented.

After being surprised by the Beckhams, Cockram was formally given his award at The Sun's Who Cares Wins awards ceremony, sponsored by the National Lottery and in partnership with NHS Charities Together, which was televised on Channel 4. The awards honour the healthcare heroes who deserve recognition for their incredible achievements.

On the work Cockram does, David Beckham commented: “I’m really proud, it’s a special award for a special man.

"I think what Allan does is so inspiring, for someone that gives up his time to give these kids everything.

"We all know how powerful football can be. To be here in the stadium, to see the kids' faces… it was a special moment for them, but Allan is so inspiring.”

Reacting to the award and surprise from the Beckhams, Cockram said: “I noticed my heart started beating quicker, and then it’s processing the person next to you and understanding what is going on. You can imagine! It’s a bit like seeing Santa Claus on Christmas day.

“I always feel the [Brentford Penguin] children give more to me than the other way round sometimes, and I’m always mindful of that. So I’m stunned, as it’s not what I set up to do.”

This weekend, the Brentford Penguins will be hosted by Athletic Club in Bilbao, Spain, where Cockram's team will play a friendly match against children with disabilities in a similar initiative run by Athletic.

The group will also attend a screening of The Mighty Penguins, a documentary made earlier this year, as a part of a wider series called Sports Explains the World, executive produced by John Skipper.

Brentford Penguins were established in 2017 and is supported by Brentford FC and Down’s Syndrome Active. The team hold weekly outdoor training sessions open to children with Down's syndrome aged five and over who want to learn and practice their football skills such as passing, dribbling and shooting while also improving their balance, coordination and agility.  

During his time with Brentford, Cockram played as a midfielder and made 118 appearances, scoring 17 goals. He also played for Tottenham Hotspur and Bristol Rovers.