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Stuart celebrates winning the award with his son. Picture courtesy of BBC Look North
(Stuart celebrates winning the award for his Martial Arts club with his son. Picture courtesy of BBC Look North)
14 Nov 2017

British Steel employee heading for BBC award finals

An engineer from British Steel's Scunthorpe site has been named today as the BBC Look North (East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire) Unsung Hero award winner for his work setting up and running Messingham Martial Arts club.

Stuart Usher, an engineer from Scunthorpe's Ore Preparation Plant, has beaten off tough competition to be shortlisted for this national BBC award and is now heading for the national finals of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero awards in December.

Stuart, who won the Community Ambassador award earlier this year at British Steel's inaugural Glow Awards, set up his martial arts club in 2014. He said: “It’s an absolute honour to even be nominated for the award.

“But to be awarded the regional title and to be heading for the national finals is unbelievable. I’ve been involved in taekwondo for 17 years and my aim is to give my students the confidence and ability to tackle anything life throws at them.

“I’ve always wanted to be part of something great and give something back to my community, and my club has given me that opportunity.”

Stuart will go head-to-head with other regional winners on 17 December at the BBC’s coveted Sports Personality of the Year awards at Liverpool’s Echo Arena. He will join the nation’s sporting superstars for the event, which will be broadcast live on national television.

In an interview with the BBC, Stuart talked about how his experiences with bullies as a child fuelled his interest in martial arts and how he takes his inspiration from his late mother. He hopes to continue her legacy of nurturing and inspiring the next generation through the sport he loves. He also talked about free self-defence sessions he’s put on for families and women in the local community in response to an attempted child abduction and attacks on females.

He was nominated for the award by Liz Brown, Communications Specialist in British Steel's Communications team.

“My children have both benefited from support from Stuart and his team,” said Liz. “Their confidence and self-esteem have really grown, and this is down to his hard work, teaching and dedication.

“But what’s really surprising is Stuart doesn’t even see how much of an inspiration he is in our local community and how he’s changing lives. He really is an unsung hero and a very deserving winner of this regional title.”

Caroline Le Beau, Chairman of the Judging Panel and Assistant Editor of BBC Look North East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, said of Stuart: “He was the unanimous choice of the regional judging panel. What emerged from Liz’s nomination form was the story of a humble, but clearly exceptional man who had overcome personal battles and who just wanted to give something back to the community where he lives. The hours and the energy Stuart puts in to the classes and the running of Messingham Martial Arts on top of the responsibilities towards his day job and his own family impressed the judges.

“Stuart is a very worthy winner of the BBC Look North (East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire) Unsung Hero award. And we hope that he enjoys attending the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards show in December – and who knows, maybe clinching the national Unsung Hero title there too?”

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards is the highlight of the sporting year, when Britain’s best sportsmen and women get together to celebrate their achievements, and the overall Sports Personality of the Year is crowned.

The event will be broadcast live on the BBC on 17 December.

If you would like further information about Messingham Martial Arts, visit www.messinghammartialarts.co.uk