NEWPORT'S Don Felkin narrowly missed out on a £2,500 bursary and a place at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards at a glittering ceremony at Celtic Manor on Sunday night.

The 71-year-old - who founded Cromwell Youth football club in 1957 which is still going strong - was nominated for the BBC Wales Unsung Hero award, supported by Robinsons, by Mayor of Newport councillor Alan Morris.

Felkin, who has now coached three generations of Newport youngsters, was pipped to the top prize by Pembrokeshire gymnastics coach Andy Grey.

But after rubbing shoulders with the great and good of Welsh sport,including undisputed Super Middleweight boxing champion Joe Calzaghe, Felkin revealed it was business as usual come yesterday.

"I felt honoured to be among so many Welsh superstars but feel disappointed not to have won the top prize," said Felkin, who discovered Welsh international footballer Mark Aizlewood and brother Steve, who went on to play for Portsmouth. "I'm very grateful to all those who nominated me - I feel privileged.

"It's been a fabulous rollercoaster ride over the last 50 years and once again I'm so proud to be in a room with guys like Joe Calzaghe.

"The highlight in my 50 years has been seeing so many of the youngsters come on so well. They all keep in contact - we had a 50 year celebration recently and some of the original teams I coached at the start attended.

"I still get the same pleasure that I did 50 years ago; the club goes from under-7s all the way up but it's back to business as normal next week."

Boxing legend Calzaghe, who also attended the event, paid tribute to Felkin and backed the Newport pensioner to keep up the good work.

"My dad Enzo is my unsung hero and I know how much he has done to help me," said Calzaghe.

"I respect anyone who puts in a lot of work behind the scenes - all of the Unsung Heroes should be applauded.

"All these guys are an inspiration and sport couldn't happen without the tireless contributions of those individuals behind the scenes."

* The Sports Unsung Hero award, sponsored by Robinsons, recognises and rewards the outstanding contribution made by individuals to grass-roots sport.