STUART Tudball is a huge cricket fan and has been involved with Minehead Cricket Club for more years than he cares to remember, writes Richard Walsh.

He is also a huge supporter of Somerset, so the game plays a large part in his life, just like it does for several other members of his family

Last Sunday, along with his wife Jo, he had planned to be at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton watching Somerset’s County Championship match against Hampshire.

However, the current lockdown has put paid to all cricket for the time being - so he has found himself at a loose end.

That was until Tudball - an upholsterer by trade - set himself a challenge, as he explained.

“I decided to upholster and cover a new chair inside a day and then auction it off to raise money for Mind in Somerset, a very worthwhile cause that we have been involved with over the years and which is carrying out such important work in the current circumstances.”

Over the years Tudball has been one of Minehead’s most successful ever cricketers, and when he was younger he went out to play and coach cricket at Tarenaki on the North Island of New Zealand for several winters.

“When I returned home before the start of the 1982 season George Parsons, who ran an upholstery business and also played for Minehead then, asked me if I had a job and I said I didn’t,” Tudball said.

“So he asked me to go and work for him, which is where I learned the trade.”

In 1995 he set up Stuart Tudball’s Upholstery Services in Quirke Street, Minehead, and that is where he has been ever since.

Talking about his chair challenge for Mind in Somerset, Tudball said: “I decided to use the rainbow colours to cover one arm in support of the NHS and key workers, the other arm is blue - the colours of Mind in Somerset - and the back is covered in the Somerset County Cricket Club flag... all causes close to my heart.

“I managed to complete the chair by the end of the day and I am really pleased with the way that it has turned out, so much in fact that I almost want to keep it.

“So I hope that there will be somebody out there who likes it as much as I do and wants to buy it!”

Anybody who is interested in purchasing Tudball’s bespoke chair can do so by logging onto eBay and searching ‘rainbow charity chair’, where it will be available to bid on from today (May 8) until May 18.

Alternatively, you can can go to the Mind in Somerset website and click on the donate button, referencing Stuart’s charity chair.

Tudball is happy to deliver the chair (when lockdown permits) free of charge, to anyone living within a 75-mile radius of the County Ground in Taunton.