VIDEO: Sheffield Wednesday star realises there’s more to life than football

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Popular Sheffield Wednesday star Reda Johnson has received a top award for his work to help youngsters at a city special school.

The left back won the PFA Player in the Community Award at the 2014 Football League Awards.

Sheffield Wednesday's Reda Johnson (left) recieves his PFA Player in the Community award from PFA Chairman Richie Humphreys at the Football League Awards 2014

Sheffield Wednesday's Reda Johnson (left) recieves his PFA Player in the Community award from PFA Chairman Richie Humphreys at the Football League Awards 2014

Reda took to the stage at the ceremony in front of more than 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry.

He has been working with youngsters at Norfolk Park School and led an initiative to raise £10,000 for a sensory learning system which projects images onto floors and doors.

Reda donated £5,000 to get the fundraising off to a great start – and has also made over 100 visits to community events over the last three seasons.

He said after receiving the award: “I think helping the community is very important. It is part of the job. We play football, we are very happy, football gives us a lot and we have a chance to do a sport we enjoy.

“Sometimes you have to think about other people and try to help those who need it. Sometimes it is not only about money, it is just a smile, you go to see people and try to make their lives a bit easier.

“I love it. It’s like when fans ask me for pictures or autographs, some people are shy but I don’t think they have to be shy. We are paid for that. It is not only 90 minutes on a Saturday, it is a full week, and we are well paid to do that.”

Judges were looking to recognise the player whose involvement had gone above and beyond that which would normally be expected of a professional player, and Reda was chosen from a shortlist of three.

Reda also made a special connection with a Norfolk Park pupil – seven-year-old Sophie Hind-Marsh.

She suffers from locked-in syndrome and could only move her eyes until the footballer paid a visit – then she began to smile.

Reda said: “When I see her, she is always smiling. I didn’t know she wasn’t like that when I wasn’t with her.”

A Benin international player, Reda says he is also conscious of problems in Africa.

“I don’t say we have to help people only in Africa; I help there when I go to Benin. I help here if I can.”

Sheffield had another winner at the awards – United fan Brett Price, who was named Capital Supporter of the Year for League One.