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Dedicated cricket coach named Unsung Hero for BBC West
Stuart Tudball
Stuart was praised for dedicating countless hours to teaching cricket

Sport needs its stars, and behind every one of them is an unsung hero.

The BBC's Sports Unsung Hero Award, now in its eighth year, seeks to reward those who dedicate their life to sport in their local areas.

And this year's winner for the BBC West region is Stuart Tudball, the co-ordinator for the Minehead and West Somerset Cricket Academy.

Stuart was deemed by the judges to be the "cornerstone and driving force behind youth cricket in West Somerset".

For 25 years he has dedicated countless hours to coaching youngsters.

A quiet and unassuming 52-year-old, Stuart not only coaches but has raised thousands for the group.

He encourages parents and players to become coaches - but above all, he gets children playing cricket and continuing to play cricket.

On hearing the news, Stuart said he was very surprised and delighted.

He said: "I was very passionate about cricket and when I was growing up we didn't have opportunities for organised games and cricket opportunities.

"A day doesn't go by when I'm not thinking about something - fundraising, coaching sessions."

Quality of teaching

Stuart was nominated for the award by Denise Marsh, who has two children aged 10 and 12 coached by him.

"He's always there, putting in extra effort. He's very modest and without him, young children wouldn't have the same quality of teaching," she said.

"He does so much, goodness knows how many hours he does - which is at detriment to his business and everything else."

Denise said one of Stuart's best qualities is that he encourages everyone to get involved. In fact he's so good at that, she has even taken up the sport and has gained a coaching qualification.

One of the judges, David Passmore, the Sport Editor at BBC Points West, said: "It's staggering the amount of time he devotes to taking coaching sessions, organising others, setting up matches and tournaments and often ending up as umpire!

"He also is a master fundraiser and highly successful at attracting grants. All this is in a remote part of West Somerset where if not for his efforts children would have to travel many miles for any sort of coaching at all."

Stuart will now be put forward to the national final where the overall award will be presented live at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show 2010 on 19 December.

Brian Mobberley, from Gloucester City Hockey Club came second and Jennie Rawlinson from Clevedon from the Visually Impaired Bowls Tournament Organiser came third.

On the judging panel was Pete Simson from BBC Somerset, Ian Longdon from BBC Radio Wiltshire, Ian Randall from BBC Radio Gloucestershire, Geoff Twentyman from BBC Radio Bristol and Mel Poolton BBC Regional Advisory Council.

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