We search to find ‘Liverpool’s hero’

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JMU Journalism 'hero' poll nominees © Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Some of the most popular JMU Journalism ‘hero’ poll nominees. Images © Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Many people would instinctively class their parents or maybe their grandparents as their inspirational role models in life, but aside from family members who would you rate as your personal hero?

It’s not an easy thing to instantly bring to mind… or is it?

JMU Journalism sent a team of more than 70 reporters out onto the streets of Liverpool on Friday October 11th to ask the question: “Apart from your friends or family, who is your hero or someone you really admire? It can be someone dead or alive.”

We asked 354 people of ages ranging from 16 up to 87 years’ old to think of their chosen hero. It was clear that not everyone interpreted the question in the same way, although a fascinating and diverse set of responses emerged, featuring more than 240 different names.

Though the sample is relatively small and not representative of the city as a whole, the ‘vox pop’ snapshot findings are both revealing and interesting.

Nelson Mandela proved to be the most popular answer among those polled in town, with the South African political icon gaining 16 nominations.

Jennifer Brown, 58, of Liverpool spoke for several respondents when she told JMU Journalism: “Nelson Mandela, as he stuck to what he believed in and fought for what he believed in. He was so graceful when let out of prison, to be forgiving instead of full of hatred. He could have made South Africa into a bad country but he didn’t, he united them.”

Top poll answers

16 – Nelson Mandela

12 – Steven Gerrard

11 – Beyoncé Knowles

6 – David Beckham; Winston Churchill & John Lennon

5 – Muhammad Ali; Jimi Hendrix & Bill Shankly

4 – Kenny Dalglish; Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi & Marilyn Monroe

3 – Richard Branson; Stephen Fry; Noel Gallagher; Angelina Jolie; Florence Nightingale; Paul O’Grady; Lord [Alan] Sugar; Margaret Thatcher & Mother Teresa

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard finished in second place overall after receiving 12 votes, one more than third-ranked American singer, Beyoncé Knowles.

Sam Green, 18, of Liverpool chose Steven Gerrard because “he is an inspirational figure who has carried us for years, and he led us to the top of European football, like in 2005 in the UEFA Champions League final.”

Crosby resident Abbie Kneen, 17, opted for Beyoncé as “she’s not only a good singer but a successful businesswoman as well. I’ve always wanted to be a singer so she’s definitely someone to look up to”.

While The Beatles picked up a couple of votes collectively, John Lennon was the most popular answer among the Fab Four with six mentions, though nobody chose Sir Paul McCartney.

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher turned out to be not as universally unpopular in Liverpool as one might imagine, as she earned three votes – the same number as humanitarian charity worker Mother Teresa.

Scroll down through the full poll result below, along with edited explanations of the public’s choices.

Some of the answers may raise an eyebrow or two…

Additional reporting by: Aimée Hamilton; Nathan Pearce; Ben Cummings; Lucy Barton; Christy Jade Biggar; Sophie Corcoran; Jessica Arnell; Jessica Bond; Matthew Crosby; Astra Armitt; Katie Braithwaite; Steven Carson; Daniel Charlesworth; Bethany Cronin; James Knowles; Gabrielle Britton; Stephanie Bocking; Beth Collins; Nathan Burgess; Noor Ali; Conor Allison; Callum Smyth; Emily Curren; Lucy Darbyshire; Eleanor Davies; Sam Davies; Olivia Doherty; Luke Edwards; James Gamble; Alexandra Gorton; Caoimhe Harkin; Emma Harrison; Kate Hewison; Andrew Highton; Hannah Hodgson; Bethan Hughes; Elliot Hughes; Jessica Johnson; Amy Jones; Jessica Jones; Ryan Jones; Stephanie Jones; Adam Lawrance; Connor Lynch; Joseph Mallia; Charlotte Mann; Tiernan McGee; Lucy Nixon; Terence O’Sullivan; Brett Peyton; Lewis Phillips-Calvert; Lewis Price; Amber-Ainsley Pritchard; Barry Rocks; William Rogers; Kamara Samuels; Sophie Sear; Stephanie Sweeney; Liam Walker; Emily Webster; Emma White; Jack Whitehead; Jenny Kirkham; Emilia Ward; Alexandra Duncan; Laura Gilchrist; Amy Cole; Hannah Rogers; Leigh McManus; Aleksandra Kudra; Jake Hirst; Vaiva Gedvilaite; Kayleigh Quinn & Lisa Rimmer

About John Mathews, Editorial Director