Paul Scarfi wins BBC Cymru Wales' Sports Unsung Hero 2013

Wales Sport Awards 2013

  • Venue: Sport Wales National Centre
  • Date: Monday, 9 December

Coverage: Awards ceremony show live on bbc.co.uk/sportwales from 19:30 GMT; Live reports on BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Radio Wales; announcement on BBC One's Wales Today and S4C's Newyddion.

A volunteer who helps run football for homeless people and others at a low ebb has won BBC Cymru Wales' Sports Unsung Hero award.

Former soldier Paul Scarfi is a volunteer coach for Street Football Wales,   and manages the Welsh Dragons team which has competed at the Homeless World Cup. 

Geraint Edwards nominated Paul and told the BBC: "I was homeless, taking loads of drugs... he helped me get off everything. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be where I am now."

After appearing at the Wales Sport Awards   on December 9, Paul will go on to represent Wales at the UK BBC Sports Personality of the Year event in Leeds on Sunday December 15.

Now in its 10th year, the BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award aims to recognise and reward outstanding contributions by individuals at the grassroots level of local sport, who give up their time on a voluntary basis.

Paul travels from Newport to Swansea to attend weekly training sessions and has been praised for taking annual leave from his job at a homeless charity to carry out his voluntary role. He was also lauded for helping women and girls become involved in playing football.

Keri Harris, Project Leader at Street Football Wales, explained why he felt Paul deserved the award: "It was only when I saw how effective Paul was at working with people from different backgrounds and how much he cared about the players and project that I felt capable of handing over the management of the team (Welsh Dragons) to someone - Paul.

"He has taken on this role with huge enthusiasm, commitment and has helped to further the project greatly over the years through his loyalty and desire to help."

Paul himself was shocked to win, or even be nominated: "I'm stunned to win the award. I'm speechless... I'm passionate about Street Football Wales, and can't believe that I've won when there are so many amazing people doing amazing things elsewhere."

Geoff Williams, Head of Sport, BBC Cymru Wales added: "Paul is an inspirational example of how individuals can, through sport, change and influence people's lives for the better."

There is a continuing need for more unsung heroes in sport. If you have been inspired and want to get involved in helping grassroots sport in your community and developing the champions of the future, there is lots of information on our Get Inspired pages.