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The South West's Unsung Heroes
Unsung Hero Award logo

BBC South West was inundated with nominations for the 2009 Unsung Sporting Hero Award.

Dozens of suggestions were sent in by viewers, readers and listeners, and the judges had to choose a top five.

This page lists details about each of the five, and the winner will be named at the South West Sports Awards ceremony in Plymouth on 29 November.

The award recognises the efforts of someone who goes that extra mile to help others participate in sport.

The work in their community must be on a voluntary basis.

The shortlisted five appear here in no particular order.

IVOR GRIFFITHS, YEALMPTON

Watch Spotlight's film on Ivor Griffiths

Ivor Griffiths, 70, has contributed to sport in the South Devon village of Yealmpton for over 30 years.

He has been nominated for the award by Nigel Taylor, who says that without Ivor's efforts, there would be no cricket, football, athletics or junior sports in Yealmpton.

"He is truly remarkable and extremely modest," says Nigel.

"Ivor's story is the story of the English village and how it's always formed the base of so much sport and sporting achievements in this country."

The film has contributions from Nigel Taylor, Tim Stone, Phil Wicks and Ivor Griffiths.

JOHN CHARLES, BRIXHAM

Watch Spotlight's film on John Charles

John Charles, 75, was one of the co-founders of Brixham Villa Football Club in 1953 - and he is still involved as a coach and general helper, 56 years on.

John has been nominated by two people - club chairman Richard Scagell, and Steve Main, a teacher at Eden Park Primary School in Brixham where John helps with football and swimming lessons.

Among those backing the nomination is Dan Gosling, now a footballer with Premiership club Everton.

Dan says: "I went to Eden Park Junior School and used to play football for the school. While at the school John Charles used to take us for football training.

"John is very good in what he does, he is a good coach and teaches loads of kids how to play football, and how to keep fit.

"John is a very nice person with loads of good qualities, he helped me a lot when I was at school so I think he deserves this special award."

The film shows contributions from John Charles, Steve Main and Richard Scagell.

RAY HUNT, BODMIN

Watch Spotlight's film on Ray Hunt

Ray Hunt has held just about every position at Bodmin rugby club from player, referee, treasurer, groundsman to president.

His involvement with the club goes right back to the time it was formed in 1969.

He is currently coach of a youth side and even at 76, he has no intention of hanging up his training boots just yet.

He has been nominated by Roy Whitehall, who says: "At the age of 76, Ray is a loyal and highly respected member of the club and has been for 40 years.

"He has never failed in doing what has been asked of him."

The film has contributions from Roy Whitehall and Kieran Madden, captain of Bodmin under-11s.

ADRIAN PARSONS, BUDE

Watch Spotlight's film on Adrian Parsons

With a huge increase in the popularity of surfing around our coasts, more and more youngsters are being trained to save lives out on the waves.

Now, one man from Cornwall who has spent most of his life teaching surf lifesaving skills has been nominated for the Unsung Sporting Hero Award.

Adrian Parsons, chairman of Bude Surf Lifesaving Club, has been nominated by Natasha Howard.

Adrian - better known by his nickname, Horace, has been involved in the club for decades - fundraising, and managing the club day-to-day.

Natasha says: "In the summer competition season, he also gives up his entire weekend to fulfil his role as team manager, official and taxi driver."

The film has interviews with Adrian Parsons and Peter Vickery, founder of the club.

YANA VIBERT, ST HELIER, JERSEY

Watch Spotlight's film on Yana Vibert

Yana Vibert has been nominated for the work she does for Jersey Special Gymnastics Club.

Yana, 41, is coach at the club, having previously competed for Jersey.

The club has around 25-30 gymnasts, aged between seven and 33. It provides an opportunity for those with special needs to participate in gymnastics.

She has been nominated by Gary Buesnel, who says: "Having a coach like Yana has enabled the club to grow, both in terms of gymnastic ability and also in numbers.

"Yana is one of those people who is always there - she is the first in line to assist with anything and everything with a 'can do' enthusiastic approach."

The judging panel:

Jane McCloskey, head of BBC South West

Thelma Holland, chair, Regional Advisory Council

Daphne Skinnard, assistant editor, BBC Radio Cornwall

Heather Fell, Olympic silver medallist

Nigel Walrond, freelance sports journalist

Mark Stevens, sports editor, Western Morning News

Stefan Ellerbeck, producer, BBC Spotlight

Dave Gibbins, sports reporter, BBC Spotlight

Laura Joint, journalist, BBC Devon website




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