Newcastle cyclist wins North East BBC sports award
Cyclist wins North East BBC award
A cyclist from Newcastle has been named BBC North East and Cumbria's Unsung Sporting Hero for 2010.
Willy Thompson was nominated by his friend Chris Bush for his outstanding contribution to cycling events in the north-east of England.
The cyclist from Westerhope in Newcastle organises races and helps train amateur cyclists from the region.
Chris said: "Without Willy there would be no grass roots road racing in the North East."
Willy modestly told BBC Newcastle: "It's an honour for me to receive this award and it's for all of the cyclists in the North East."
Passion for cycling
Willy has been helping cyclists from all over the North East to train and organising races since 1968.
Willy's passion for cycling originally came from his brother who is a keen track racer.
He said: "I never missed a track meeting, in them days there wasn't so much road racing and my brother was a track man and I've just followed on from there.
"I've ridden loads of races myself, not that I was any good like, but I've just kept it on, and the way I keep in contact with the lads is to put races on.
"[I've organised] 55 races this year with one cancellation this year with really extreme weather."
Keeping the sport alive
His dedication is just one of the many reasons that friend and former student, Chris Bush, put Willy's name forward to be a candidate for the BBC's Sport Unsung Hero award.
Willy will face the other regional winners for the national award
Chris explained: "At grass roots level and 'come and have a go' level, especially for grown ups, Willy has been the one who has kept that going and without him we wouldn't have been able to do it, simple as that."
"That's how important he is to the sport, he has kept the sport alive, without a doubt.
"It's not just the number of races he puts on, he takes us out training and he's taken lads away training in France.
"Even if you're out for a nice Sunday bike ride, he'll try and talk you into riding a race. He wants everybody to get stuck in and have a go.
"He does help elite and pro riders as well, but he's all about getting people into the sport and giving people a chance to get started."
Willy will now appear at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards evening where he could win the national award.
You can watch the BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday, 19 December 7pm, BBC One.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.