Maggie Alphonsi

Born with a club foot, Margaret, known by many as Maggie the Machine, has turned early adversity into a remarkable career which has seen the Saracens’ flanker awarded an MBE in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for Services to Rugby; something the experienced player described as “incredible”.

Maggie has played in two Rugby World Cups and in 2012 shared in a record-breaking seventh successive Six Nations title and a sixth Grand Slam in seven years. Maggie started playing rugby in the centres and then moved to the back row – her first cap for England came at #12 and her second cap for England at #7.

Maggie has also picked up a number of high-profile awards. In 2011, she was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Bedfordshire for her services to rugby, she has been named in the Powerlist for three years running, a highly respected publication which profiles 100 of the most influential people of African and African-Caribbean descent in Britain. There was also the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year prize in 2010 and the prestigious Pat Marshall award from the Rugby Union Writers’ Club, where she pipped New Zealand captain, Richie McCaw, to the gong to become the first woman to claim the prize in its 50-year history.

In what little spare time she has, she acts as an Athlete Mentor Manager for the Youth Sport Trust. She is also one of four Rugby World Cup 2015 Ambassadors along with Lawrence Dallaglio, Will Greenwood and Jonny Wilkinson.

Maggie says,

*“It’s an honour to be an ambassador for Local Heroes. It’s important for young people to stand up to intolerance and be able to celebrate diversity and not fear it. I grew up in London and it is a very diverse place and what I love most about our capital is just how diverse it is. There are so many types of people with different cultures, religions and backgrounds and growing up it made me appreciate all kinds of people.

I want to help young people to be more inspired to want to be the best that they can be. It doesn’t matter where they have come from or who they are, what’s important is that they be themselves and don’t stand for bullies”*