Stockport’s elite athletes, clubs, volunteers and local community champions were recognised for their hard work and dedication to sport at Stockport’s annual Sports & Physical Activity Awards, at Houldsworth Golf Club, Reddish last Friday 27th September. In addition to recognising their achievements it was wonderful to see how such a powerful tool, sport and physical activity can be.
Winners of the eight awards were announced on the evening by host Chelsea Norris (BBC Radio Manchester) and presented by special guests at a glittering dinner attended by athletes, their families, supporters and members of Life Leisure and Stockport Council. Guests were treated to a fantastic presentation from Rachel Smith. Rachel hit the headlines when she rowed across the Atlantic Ocean and set a new Guinness World Record in the process. In addition, Rachel has represented Great Britain at 10 World and European Dragon Boat Racing Championships where she has won an incredible 25 medals.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation for up and coming Lacrosse star William Shirt who was named the Fred Perry Sports Personality of the Year presented by the Councillor Jude Wells, Cabinet member for Adult Care and Health. Over the past 12 months William captained the victorious England under 19 Lacrosse team in the European Under 20’s Championships, and at 17 he is one of the youngest players to play in the first team for his club Cheadle, with the team winning the NEMLA Premier League.
A diverse range of sports were represented from football and swimming to figure skating, basketball and volleyball. A huge proportion of the nominees’ present had represented not only their team and town, but their county and country – competing at an international level in their chosen sport.
Club of the Year was awarded to Cheadle & Gatley Junior Football Club who have doubled in size during in the last 12 months, offering opportunities across all age groups for both boys & girls. In early October 2018, the club partnered with Seashell Trust and moved all teams to their new 3G pitch funded by the Premier League and other partners.
Outstanding volunteers were also rewarded, with Lee Price from Marple Athletic Junior Football Club being named Volunteer of the Year. Lee currently has several roles within the club including Chairman (for 4 years), Under 15 Boys manager, Under 15 Girls manager, and coach at the SSE Wildcats Centre (for girls aged 7-11 years). Five years ago, the club did not have a girls team and Lee has driven the club forward to now having seven.
The Changing Lifestyle Recognition award sponsored by Stockport Council was awarded to Denise Cowgill. Denise initially attended the PARiS COPD class in Brinnington after being in remission from lung cancer, which had led to one half of her lung being removed. She initially starting off on a treadmill once a week for 5 minutes only, and Denise is now managing a staggering 5 times per week where she walks for 1 hour and 20minutes, accumulating 11.2km distance in total per day which is some achievement.
Roger Boyer, from Stockport Metro Swimming Club was honoured with the 2018 Sir Stanley Matthews Unsung Hero Award. Roger has devoted his adult life to volunteering his time, expertise and support to the club, local church and charities. Over 44 years he has supported the club through officiating at swim meets, producing results and statistical reports, as press secretary, and he is currently the President of the Club. Over the last 2 years he has also co-ordinated the resubmission of the Swim Mark accreditation and has had numerous roles and responsibilities with the Cheshire County Swimming and Northern County Swimming Associations, which he continues to support.
This year saw the introduction of two new awards. Workforce Advocate of the Year, which recognises an individual that has used physical activity or sport within their professional role to have positive impacts on physical and mental wellbeing, individual development, or social, community or economic development. They are key motivators and fantastic at bringing people together through sport and physical activity, and this year our winner was Jan Sinclair from the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.
The second new award was Initiative of the Year which recognises a physical activity initiative by an organisation which has made a difference in communities and achieved positive social outcomes. Projects have real lasting impacts in the areas that they are established, not only getting people active, but also having wider social effects such as reducing social isolation, decreasing anti-social behaviour and improving respect not only for others, but for the community. This year’s winner was The Cherry Tree Project which has been building relationships within a local community which had no provision for its young people.
This year’s School Commitment to PE and Sport Award, which demonstrates how Physical Education and Sport can have a positive impact on the whole school, was awarded to Rose Hill Primary School. The award recognises the schools’ ability to provide High Quality PE to its pupils, but also recognises its curricular links to PE and Sport in other subjects, in addition to a wide range of competitive opportunities.
Seb Rowe, Assistant Head of Operations for Life Leisure said, ‘It is important that local athletes are recognised for their fantastic achievements in sport and the annual sports dinner is an ideal event to do this. This year it has been wonderful to recognise those within the local community who have been endorsing physical activity to encourage others to become active, helping us to continue to promote the benefits of sport in addition to encouraging both a grassroots and world class mentality in Stockport. We would like to say a special word of thanks to our sponsors and all at Houldsworth Golf Club for a fantastic evening’.
Winners from the Stockport Sports Awards will be put forward and represent Stockport at the Greater Manchester Sports Awards being held at the Point, Emirates Old Trafford on Friday 15th November.