Thurlow’s Allan Loveday wins Suffolk Sport’s Unsung Hero of the Year award

Allan Loveday (right) with BBC Radio Suffolk's Stephen Foster

Allan Loveday (right) with BBC Radio Suffolk's Stephen Foster - Credit: Archant

Allan Loveday epitomises the phrase “unsung hero”.

The 62-year-old was recognised on Friday evening for his voluntary work with Thurlow Youth Football Club and Thurlow Tennis Club, as well as maintaining the sports field.

This is a thankless task and he spends most evenings tending to the pitch and grounds.

He has led the project to replace the children’s play area on the Thurlow Recreation Ground this year and has overseen the organisation of the Thurlow Fayre and Bonfire Night events for many years.

Without the financial support his work provides, both the Football Club and Tennis Club would struggle to be financially viable.

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Allan’s wife Susan, who supports him in all his volunteer work, is extremely ill. Regardless, they continue to dedicate their free time to supporting sport in Thurlow.

Given Susan’s extremely poor health at present, their continued commitment to Thurlow Sport demonstrates that they are truly unsung heroes.

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Allan was delighted to receive his award, saying: “I am honoured more than anything.

“This is the culmination of 43 years voluntary and community work and I feel very fortunate to win as I was up against two very worthy nominees (Jane Samkin, running, and Ann Williamson, cycling).

“As well as football and tennis, we have had a number of other sports clubs over the years but because of various issues, in a small village, it has been difficult to keep enough interest.

“We have got the people who are bringing the youth through in football and tennis and keeping these sections going, and it is important that that is the case in other villages as well.”

As a volunteer, Allan is rarely rewarded for his work, but it is awards such as this that make it all worthwhile.

“You sometimes think ‘why do I do it?’ especially when we are being burgled or when you have a burst pipe for instance.

“But volunteering at the club is something I have carried on with, through great support from my wife and other people in the village.”

Allan has been involved with the Thurlow club since 1972 when he became secretary.

The club was formed after the end of the First World War.

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