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BBC Sports Unsung Hero 2008 winners

Sports Personality of the Year
Venue: Liverpool Echo Arena Date: Sunday, 14 December Time: 1900 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport website.


The 15 nations and regions winners of the BBC Sports Unsung Hero have been announced.

Each winner was handed the accolade at their respective local BBC awards event, all of which were held during November and early December.

The 15 have been invited to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year event at the Liverpool Echo Arena on Sunday 14 December where the winner of the overall prize will be named.

There were a record number of nominations this year for the award. Each winner will be eligible for a £2,500 bursary, supported by Robinsons.

Full list of the winners:

Chris Goninan
SOUTH WEST
Chris Goninan, 63
St Just Cricket Club

Chris has been the Secretary at St Just Cricket Club for 30 years. On top of his day to day duties, he coaches, fund raises and generally organises the club, all in his spare time. Chris is described as "the driving force" behind the club.

What the judges said: "Chris' commitment and dedication to youth development and involvement has helped the club achieve great things."

Ben Geyser
SOUTH
Ben Geyser, 70
Dorchester Amateur Boxing Club

Ben has set up three clubs and is currently campaigning for a permanent home for the Dorchester ABC.

He holds three sessions per week plus countless hours organising tournaments, matchmaking, fundraising, transporting boxers to tournaments, supporting charity events.

What the judges said: "The panel was impressed by Ben's length of service, his tireless commitment and the widespread benefits to individuals and the community as a whole. "

Guy Fawkes
NORTH EAST
Guy Fawkes, 48
Billingham Swimming Club

Guy has raised money through training camps and he has also helped raised money to buy heart-rate monitors, kit boards, pool buoys and lane ropes.

What the judges said: "It was felt Guy embodied all the qualities we were looking for - he dedicates an awful lot of time to his swimming club offering terrific support and guidance every day of the week and at some personal cost."

Jason Cross
YORKSHIRE
Jason Cross, 38
Toll Bar Rugby League FC

Jason is the figurehead of the team at Toll Bar and with his help £25,000 has been raised which has helped rebuild the club after it was devastated by the floods of 2007.

What the judges said: "His effort for making sure the club survived despite the flood damage was incredible."

Don Cannon
WEST
Don Cannon, 75
Bowmoor Sailing Club

Without Don's efforts the club would not exist. Anything up to 50 boats take to the water each Sunday. Every year about 50 to 60 youngsters and 200 to 300 adults take part.

Don negotiated a grant of £75,000 and was involved in raising a total of £500,000 which helped build a new clubhouse, boat house and trailer park.

What the judges said: "Don deserved to win because of his considerable contribution in the numbers who have taken part in sailing and the fact that he formed the club and then saved it from closure."

Dave Bale
NORTH WEST
Dave Bale, 81
Olympic Junior Football Club

Dave has spent 44 years helping junior football with up to 250 children coached every week.

What the judges said: "The judges felt that, on balance, Dave had done more than the other nominees to help increase participation in sport."

Bill Halstead
EAST MIDLANDS
Bill Halstead, 72
Matlock Rugby Club & Derbyshire Schools

In school, Bill works alone and at the club he has recruited and trained a team of volunteers.

His help with general fundraising on an annual basis has raised money to buy kits, tracksuits and balls.

What the judges said: "We had a really strong field but Bill was our unanimous choice."

Gina Goodwin
SOUTH EAST
Gina Goodwin, 50
First Flight Trampoline Club

Gina was described by her friends and colleagues as the saviour of their club, jumping in to keep First Flight going when the previous head coach left. And despite having more than 70 members, including coaching youngsters with special needs, and running the club across two sites, Gina always has time for everyone.

What the judges said: "Gina has made an outstanding contribution, enabling a wide range of people of all abilities to participate in this sport."

Gerry Thain
MIDLANDS
Gerry Thain, 82
Camp Hill Edwardians Swimming Club

Gerry has helped run a swimming club for all abilities, which was set up from scratch.

What the judges said: "He won through the scoring system - with the overall highest score. Gerry was up by tremendous testimonies."

Mike Judd
EAST
Michael Judd, 68
Stony Stratford FC

Michael has virtually run the club single-handedly five days-per-week and has put in his own cash into the club for running repairs.

What the judges said: "It was a unanimous decision, based on his commitment to the football club which he's been involved with for around 25 years."

Alex Sutherland
SCOTLAND
Alex Sutherland, 86
Inverness Swimming Club

Alex used to coach between 80 to 90 people every day of week. He has been a volunteer for 60 years, only taking a break during the Second World War.

What the judges said: "Very impressive record of outstanding commitment and recognition."

Brian Manson
EAST YORKS & LINCS
Brian Manson, 60
Theddlethorpe FC & Lough United FC

Apart from helping at the two football clubs, Brian has also developed football coaching sessions at the following schools - Grimoldby After School Club, King Edward Grammar School Club, King Edward 6th Form Games, Gradely League Mini Soccer Project - basically, all children's football in the Louth Area.

What the judges said: "The panel recognised that without Brian's contribution it is quite possible that organised junior football would have died out in the area."

Frank Gervin
NORTHERN IRELAND
Frank Gervin, 63
Clonoe Boxing Club

Frank is the main inspiration behind the club for 37 years - he even stood in front of a bulldozer when club threatened with demolition. The Clonoe club has churned out hundreds of young boxers over three decades and Frank recently organised the visit of Amir Khan. Both he and his wife have also fostered something like 90 children.

What the judges said: "Frank led a campaign to save the club and it is now thriving again."

Edna Harrison
LONDON
Edna Harrison, 81
Evergreen Activity

Edna has set up and runs activity classes for over 50s - between 20 to 50 people now attend each week. She also helps raise funds for club and three local hospitals

What the judges said: "Each member of the panel noted Edna's age when making their judgement (she'll be 82 by the time the awards are held); the volume of people she has helped; the wide range of activities she assists with and generally the fact that her nomination stood out as being that bit different to the norm."

Cliff Williams
WALES
Cliff Williams, 62
Pontyclun Rugby Club

Cliff is currently chairman of Pontyclun RFC but he's no "suit". Every week he helps run two senior men's teams, a women's side, as well as supervising more than a 100 mini and junior players. He is pitchmarker, waterboy, cleaner, taxi driver and surrogate father to many of the boys. Cliff is also heavily involved in the show jumping circuit in South Wales and has set up and run several football clubs over the years.

What the judges said: "Cliff has helped a whole range of people in sport over a long period."



SPORTS PERSONALITY:
Sun 14 Dec, 1900 GMT,
BBC One & BBC Radio 5 Live.

see also
Bursaries for Unsung Heroes
16 Sep 08 |  Sports Personality


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