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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 09:54 GMT
Hunter's widow in Masters appeal
Lindsey and Paul Hunter
Lindsey is setting up the Paul Hunter Foundation in his memory
Paul Hunter's widow Lindsey has broken her silence and called for the Masters trophy to be renamed after the treble Wembley champion.

Hunter died in October aged 27 but World Snooker has decided against formally honouring him at the event.

Lindsey, speaking about the issue for the first time, said she did not expect the whole tournament to be renamed.

"Family and friends were thinking it would be lovely if the winner received the Paul Hunter Trophy," she said.

"I think everybody expected it. Every player I've spoken to, every fan, thought it would be a definite.

"There are obviously five or six businessmen who run World Snooker and their decision goes, unfortunately. But if they were listening to the players and fans, it's what the people wanted."

But World Snooker is standing by its decision, and appears reluctant to create a precedent which would be difficult to follow.

The BBC Sport website first reported on plans to honour the Leeds-born star away from the Masters, which starts on Sunday.

The controversy has divided opinion on the BBC's 606 snooker section, where one member has set up an online petition calling for some kind of Wembley tribute.

This year's German Open pro-am, an event in which Hunter returned to action after first being diagnosed with cancer in 2005, will be known as the Paul Hunter Classic in memory of the Englishman.

It is not a World Snooker event, although the sport's governing body has created an annual Paul Hunter scholarship.

But the Masters tournament - sponsored by Saga Insurance - will not change its name.

Plenty of people want to keep Paul's name alive, but I can't see World Snooker changing their minds

Lindsey Hunter
A minute's silence was observed at the Grand Prix in Aberdeen after Hunter's death. There will be no similar tribute at Wembley.

"Our board unanimously agreed that the Paul Hunter Scholarship was the most fitting tribute," a World Snooker spokesman told BBC Sport.

"Just as Hunter himself rose swiftly through the amateur ranks, the scholarship will give a gifted young player the chance to fulfil his talent through elite training."

He said the scholarship, which Saga will help to fund, would be a lasting memorial to the player.

"This new scheme was considered more appropriate than other suggestions, including the renaming of the trophy," he added.

Snooker legend Jimmy White had previously renewed calls for the Masters tournament or trophy to be renamed. after Hunter.

"Paul Hunter should be associated with it. He's had three incredible wins," White told BBC Five Live.

Saga announced on Thursday it would donate 50 to the Hunter scholarship for every break of 50 or more at the Masters.

Jimmy White
He was always up - he was a very strong character

Jimmy White on Paul Hunter

Meanwhile, Lindsey, who had a baby girl Evie with the snooker star, is setting up the Paul Hunter Foundation to provide opportunities for under-privileged and disabled children to enjoy the sport.

She told the Daily Mail she did not want people to think the Masters controversy was dominating her everyday thinking.

"Paul would have said 'Oh, whatever, it doesn't really matter'. I'll be the same. If they'd called it the Paul Hunter Trophy, it would have been an honour and it would have been lovely for Evie when she's older," said Lindsey.

"But there are plenty of people who want to keep Paul's name alive. I can't see World Snooker changing their minds. The decision might come back on them. People will view it how they view it."

Hunter became a crowd favourite by coming behind in three finals to win the Masters in 2001, 2002 and 2004.

He cheekily cited his 'Plan B', a dressing room break with Lindsey, as the reason for his improved form.

After the Englishman died of cancer, snooker fans and stars united in grief, with nearly all of the world's top players attending his funeral.

Former world champions Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, John Parrott, Dennis Taylor, Mark Williams and John Higgins joined White among the mourners.

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19 Oct 06 |  Snooker
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09 Oct 06 |  Snooker
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08 Jan 07 |  Snooker


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