TERRY McDonald-Smith has joined an exclusive list of 103 snooker fans from all over the world.
The 69-year-old has just rubbed cues with former World Champions Steve Davis and Terry Griffiths at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield.
Terry, who runs The Potting Shed in Hereford, has pocketed the internationally-recognised WPBSA World Snooker Coach qualification.
He was among 23 would-be coaches from Hong Kong, Sweden, India, Belgium and Norway on the course at the English Institute of Sport.
“If we are going to find the next Ronnie O’Sullivan in the UK then we have to bring on the youngsters,” said McDonald-Smith, who was born and bred in Worcester.
“Snooker is growing overseas - just look at the people from the various countries who were on the coaching course.
“We need to get young people interested in snooker in this country and to tell them the benefits of this wonderful sport.
“We have had some notable young players in Hereford like Tommy Cousins, who hit a 147 clearance, but we need to get more.”
Terry moved to Herefordshire in around 1987 and lives in Burghill.
He took over the lease at The Potting Shed five years ago and wants to encourage more young players to take up the sport.
“The Potting Shed is not simply a club to make money,” said Terry.
“I have taken on a sales job during the day because times are tough. My son, Andrew, looks after the club during the day.
“I am 69 years old now and my objective is to put something back into the sport and inspire people to be the next Jimmy White.
“I believe I have a duty of care to find the stars of tomorrow - and that’s why I took a professional snooker coaching qualification.
“Snooker is a very skilled game and can be played by people of all ages and abilities.
“We want to get involved in schools and colleges and looking to get develop the sport at grass-roots level.
“Sadly, there seems to be fewer and fewer snooker tables in Hereford and fewer places where people can enjoy the sport. Young people, in general, are drifting away from sport but we want to try to buck the trend.
“Children are playing on computers these days and I want to teach people to play snooker properly and not play just on their X-box.”
Chris Lovell is the head coach at the World Professional Billiard and Snooker Association.
Lovell said he had known about Terry McDonald-Smith for several years because The Potting Shed had been very supportive of the Paul Hunter Foundation.
He said: “Terry is now among only 103 people to get this recognised snooker qualification since it was set up 18 months ago.
“We are delivering a new style of training aimed at developing ambassadors to go out and encourage schools, snooker clubs and councils to get involved with the game.”
He said the two-day course involved Terry Griffiths and Steve Davis with candidates taking written and practical assessments.
“The qualification includes an enhanced CRB check and lets parents know their children can play snooker in a safe place,” said Lovell.
“Snooker is the fastest growing sport in the world. It’s played all over the world and there’s just been the fifth Chinese tournament of the year.
“It is a wonderful game and we have a variation on the game called Functional Snooker with numbers on the balls.
“Snooker is not a mis-spent youth like it was in perhaps the 1970s, it has transformed itself into something very special.”
McDonald-Smith said: “My motivation is giving young people the opportunity to learn a skill that will last them all their lives.
“Unless youngsters get a chance, we will never know if they could make it at snooker. The emphasis is on fun and learning social skills.”