Former footballer Sean Wharton has spoken about the racism he experienced growing up and during his professional career.

Sean, who played for Sunderland and Cwmbran Town in the 1980s, said: “Growing up was hard. School was tough – there weren’t many people who looked like me. We were treated differently because of the colour of our skin and there were lots of fights.

“I was fortunate because I was good at sport so I was accepted but others were not.”

Sean, who grew up in Newport and now lives in Cwmbran, paid tribute to his parents’ strength and resilience which he said meant he and his four siblings went onto have successful careers.

The businessman, who campaigns for racial equality, was speaking to a new podcast launched by Torfaen Council’s cohesion team to mark Black History Month.

The Valleys Voices podcast aims to champion diverse voices from across the Gwent Valleys.

Presenter Harriet Leek, who works for the West Gwent Community Cohesion team, said: “Who we are and where what we look like may be different but where we live is something we all have in common.

“This podcast aims to make sure the stories of lesser heard voices in our communities are heard. It’s been a real pleasure to speak to my guests and I hope listeners will enjoy hearing from them too.”

As part of the podcast, Harriet also hears from Noah Nyle, a transgender male who talks about his personal journey and about being an advocate from the LGBTQ+ community, and sports enthusiast Emily Parker, who talks about being a gay woman in rugby.

Harriet will soon be meeting a refugee from Afghanistan who now lives in Abertillery and speaking to young Welsh speakers about using the language in a predominantly English-speaking region.

Councillor Peter Jones, Executive Member for Corporate Governance and Performance, said: “This is a real opportunity to hear from people in our communities whose voices aren’t always heard.

“Our diverse communities are part of the rich fabric of our society and they deserve to be celebrated.”

The Valleys Voices podcast is available to download on Spotify and Apple iTunes, or you can listen to it via our website.

Follow #ValleysVoices on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates.