Cumbria celebrates a feast of sporting achievements at Cumbria Sports Awards
The talent and dedication of athletes, sports teams, coaches, volunteers, schools and workplaces in Cumbria were celebrated last night [Friday 30th November] at the annual Cumbria Sports Awards. 230 guests, including guest speaker Jenny Meadows, congratulated winners at the glittering event held at the Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa in Windermere.
Organised by Cumbria County Council’s Active Cumbria Team and supported by United Utilities, the awards recognise the outstanding talents, commitment and successes of teams and individuals throughout Cumbria who are involved in sport. The event, in its 34th year, was hosted by Mike Zeller, presenter of BBC Radio Cumbria’s Breakfast Show.
This year’s winner of the prestigious Sports Personality of the Year Award went to England Netball player Helen Housby.
Helen from Drumleaning, near Wigton has had a truly outstanding 2018. Housby, like many of Cumbria’s top performers has had to leave home to fulfill her dream, and now plays and lives in Australia for large parts of the year. And it was in Australia at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, like a Trojan horse, where she had her moment of glory.
The ‘ice queen’ as she is affectionately known as by her teammates for her cool, calm demeanor helped the England Roses beat reigning champions Australia in their own back yard, in the final of the Commonwealth Games. Not only that, she held her nerve under extreme pressure by scoring the winning goal in the last second of the match, meaning England had the slightest of victories 52-51. It is the first time ever that England has won a Netball gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Helen said: “Thank you to everyone that nominated me. My year has been a whirlwind, the Commonwealth finals was the best moment of my career, it was groundbreaking for our sport and it’s amazing to be part of a movement that’s transcending not just England netball but global netball; we’re making waves with grassroots and with young people looking up to us, it’s pretty special at the moment!
“I’m really thankful for the journey I’m on and whilst I’m now in Sydney most of the year, Cumbria will always be my home. I love where I am from and I am really proud to be part of Cumbrian Sport, we’ve seen some really special things in the County over the last few years and I’m really proud to be part of that. I’d like to congratulate all the other winners.”
Nick Miller, from the world of Athletics, picked up Cumbria Performance of the Year 2018
Miller claimed Gold in the Hammer event at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia in April this year. His record breaking throw of 80m 26cm is a Championship Record as well as a UK Record ranking him third in the world this year!
This year, despite illness during the summer Nick has had a great year, he also finished 2nd in the Athletics World Cup event in London, and was a finalist at the European Championships in Berlin.
The Special Award was awarded to Ellie Dickinson from the world of Cycling.
19-year-old Ellie from Carlisle made her Commonwealth Games debut on the Gold Coast earlier this year, competing in the women’s 3000m individual pursuit, 10km scratch race, 25km points race, 4000m team pursuit, and the women’s road race.
During the last 12 months she has also won her first World Cup medals at the third round of the 2017/18 UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Milton, Canada, taking bronze in the omnium, her first individual medal on the elite international stage, before claiming Madison gold, this time alongside Katie Archibald.
The winner of the Service to Sport Award went to Paul Burns from Barrow in Furness.
Paul, now 68 has been coaching athletics for over 30 years. During this time he has coached hundreds of athletes at County, Regional, National and International level and is still coaching today at the Barrow & Furness Striders Athletic club where some of the members are now children and grandchildren of athletes he has coached in the past. He started his career as a talented rugby union and football player, but it was his love of athletics shaped his life.
A talented sprinting career started in the 1960’s and ended with him winning the Cumbria veterans 100 metre title in 1989, provided him with the opportunity to spend more time coaching.
Over the years he has held a number of voluntary roles including from 1988 to 1992 he sat on the Cumbria AAA committee, as secretary to Park Vale Striders Athletic Club. From 1992 to 1995 he was Speed & Conditioning coach to Barrow Rugby League club. From 1990 to 1999 he was part of the Northern Region coaching committee involved in coach education for Cumbria.
From 1999 to 2014 he undertook the role of coach to the Great Britain athletics team for people with a learning disability, progressing from sprints and hurdles coach to head coach, and then team manager. This took him all over the world to places such as Australia, Brazil and most of Europe for World and European Championships.
When the European outdoor Championships where held in England in 2008 at Manchester and the indoor World Championships in 2012 he was lead organiser and event Director.
In 2005 partly due to his work with disability athletics he was awarded the MBE, and in 2015 he was awarded the first ever INAS (World Governing Body for learning disability sport) unsung hero award.
The winner of the Young Sports Leader/Volunteer of the Year Award went to Laura Robinson from Carlisle Trampoline club.
Laura recently decided to stop competing and focus on being a voluntary coach and judge for the club where she has been a member for 10 years. She has successfully completed her level 2 qualification in trampoline and club judge award, and helped set up a mini development squad aimed for children between 5 and 7, to introduce them into the club environment in a fun and safe way.
Laura has been so successful with the 5-7 year olds she was able to enter them into the North of England Championships where they won 1st in the team event and came 2nd in the synchro event. She is always willing to help the club and has travelled up and down the country to allow the members to compete. She has done this while studying for her A-levels and gaining a place at the University of Cumbria.
Irwin Wallace from the world of football was awarded Volunteer of the Year Award.
Irwin has been instrumental in developing an approach that has supported the development of well over a thousand footballers through the Castletown Football Club in Penrith. The so called ‘Nappy Squad’ was born by Irwin over 30 years ago, and is still going strong today. Every Easter 40 new young under 5’s come together and start to learn the basics of football, under the three F’s, Fun, Friendship and Football.
His enthusiasm and passion for the game comes across to the children, and he loves seeing them develop as footballers, but most importantly as people as they progress through the club. Carlisle United’s Danny Grainger and Goalkeeper Adam Collin are both graduates from Irwin’s Nappy Squad.
Kim Trotter was named Cumbria’s Coach of the Year for 2018.
Kim, head coach from Carlisle Trampoline Club has been coaching trampoline and Double Mini Trampoline for many years. Over the last 12 months Kim has coached four youngsters to national finals level in both disciplines, as well as continuing to coach and inspire recreational level athletes at the Club.
She has also been selected to coach the North of England double mini trampoline squad, helping them to achieve podium finishes at this year’s National Championships.
The winner of Community Club or Group of the Year went to Lanercost Sports Club.
The club is centre of their community at Lanercost, a small village outside of Brampton, Carlisle. The club is run solely by volunteers, some who attend for the sport, and others who just love the atmosphere at the club.
The club is proud to have gained ‘Clubmark’ status this year, demonstrating that they are a well-managed, fully inclusive and progressive club. They are a well led organization making a significant difference to the health and wellbeing of their community.
For a small village club they have many cricket teams. Starting from under 11’s right through to adult 1st and 2nd teams. This year the new Sunday league has seen adults and advanced juniors play together with a slightly reduced game of 36 overs. This begins the preparation for the juniors progressing into adult cricket.
The club have also embraced the ECB All Stars Cricket initiative, providing opportunities for many 5 to 8 year old’s to experience cricket for the first time.
This thriving club has also fundraised enough to enable the installation of a brand new kitchen in time for the new season, and they have also secure grants for new state of the art practice nets, and side screens. Plans are also well under way for a much needed new clubhouse. In the winter when the season has come to an end the club arrange music nights, quizzes, race nights and the club bar is always open every Friday night to keep the social side of the club going helping to raise funds for continued improvements to the club.
The winner of the Performance Award for People with a Disability went to Ella Cooper-Holmes from the sport of Para Swimming.
Cockermouth’s Ella was born 7 weeks early with a dislocated hip and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at just 2 years of age, but has never let her disability stand in her way of sporting success.
Now 18, Ella has always juggled her education and swimming commitments, and after completing her A-Levels, now studies Sports & Exercise Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University, as well as fitting in all her training.
In December 2017 she attended the EFDS British Short Course Swimming Championships winning 5 gold medals and achieving new short course personal best times.
In July she competed in the Swim England National Summer Championships In her 5 events, she qualified for finals in each and achieved her best ever results at this competition, with the highlight being crowned English National Champion in the 50m MC Freestyle event and gaining the Silver medal, for the third year in a row, for the 100m MC Backstroke.
In August 2018 she represented Team England at the Cerebral Palsy World Games in Barcelona, winning 3 gold 1 silver and 1 bronze medal from her 5 events.
Workington Comets from the world of Speedway was named 2018 Team of the Year.
After a long season, the Comets have had an historic year receiving a hat trick of trophies, making this the most successful season in the team’s history.
In October they won the SGB Championship Shield and the SGB Play Off Final, both times defeating the Lakeside Hammers. In the same month they made it a treble with Knockout Cup success, following a dramatic victory over Scunthorpe Scorpions, completing an unprecedented treble for the west Cumbria based team.
Junior Team of the Year went to Thomlinson Junior School Girls Year 5 & 6 Football Team.
The girl’s team from Wigton were this year crowned the Premier League Primary Stars National Champions 2018 after succeeding at local, regional and national finals. On 22 May the team travelled to the King Power Stadium in Leicester for the national finals of the Premier League Primary Stars National Finals. Representing Cumbria, the girls won all of their group matches, before overcoming a team representing Wales 1-0 in the semi-final, to take their place in the final. In a tense final, the team led 1-0 at half time, before scoring two more goals to clinch the title.
Three Rising Star Awards were made to talented athletes who have demonstrated their potential through their achievements during the last year.
The first Rising Star was awarded to Emie Seward from the world of BMX Racing and is from Millom.
8-year-old Emie has had an amazing year, she is the reigning British Champion two years running, and ranked 2nd in Europe for her age. This year she was selected to compete in the World Championships in Azerbaijan, finishing a fantastic 4th place.
The second Rising Star went to Elliott Hodgson from Seaton who is excelling in the competitive worlds of Karate.
Elliot, a martial arts prodigy is only 12-years-old and has a haul of medals from competitions across the globe. At the age of 2 he was diagnosed with cancer and went through four and a half years of chemotherapy. He took up karate at the age of 6 and had achieved his black belt by the age of 10.
In August 2017 was involved in an accident involving a car where he was knocked off his bike and had his knee shattered, he had a four and a half hour operation to rebuild his knee at the RVI in Newcastle. As a result he now has one leg shorter than the other but through pure determination he began training again to get back to competition karate. In June this year his efforts were rewarded when he travelled to Resita in Romania to compete in the WKC European championships, where he won the gold medal in his age group and became European Champion.
The third Rising Star award went to Archie Davies from Carlisle and the world of Golf.
17-year-old Archie has already represented Wales at both junior and senior levels. This year he was selected for the GB & Ireland Team that beat Continental Europe in the Jacques Leglise Trophy, which is the most prestigious junior Golf event in Europe.
Caitlin Whitehead from Kendal was named Junior Sports Personality of the Year.
Caitlin, a member of the England Under 18 squad and former rising star at these awards, has had another exceptional year on the golf course. In June she won the West of England Amateur Open at Bath Golf Club. She then represented the Cumbria ladies Team at the Northern Counties Match week, winning all of her 5 singles matches against Cheshire, Northumberland, Yorkshire, Durham and Lancashire.
In July she won the Young European Masters Championships held in Norway, and was also picked to represent Team Europe in the Asia Pacific Junior Championship in Hong Kong in August, winning her individual competition with an impressive 64 and also winning the mixed pairs with her partner Sakke Siltala from Finland, helping Team Europe to victory in the event for the first time since the tournament began. She has since been selected to represent England at the World Junior Championship in Canada, and has also played for England against Ireland in the mixed under 16 International on 13 & 14 October, and was only one of 3 players to have 100% winning record during the weekend.
The Be Inspired Award went to James Addyman from the world of Rugby.
James, from Keswick was diagnosed with an aggressive form of osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, last June and learned that he would have to lose an arm and shoulder joint. He had always been an excellent rugby player having represented Cumbria at various age groups and qualifying for a North of England U18 Trial a few years ago.
Since his operation he remained ever positive, and in February he experienced a memorable day not only for himself, but for his whole family, when he, along with his brothers Will and John took the field together for Keswick Rugby Club second team’s Cumbria Shield League game against Workington Steelers, which Keswick won 29-14.
Ever modest, James said that he was “happy with how it went”, but that “catching the ball was a bit hard, but my tackling was OK.”
Not content with just playing rugby again, James is now looking at other events such as triathlons, as he continues to inspire everyone he comes into contact with.
This year saw the introduction of two new awards, the Active Education Award, and the Active Workplace Award.
The Active Workplace Award went to Carlisle Brass
This award recognises organisations that can demonstrate innovative approaches to embedding physical activity for staff in and around the working day. Carlisle Brass place a healthy workforce at the heart of their business, they understand the company’s success belongs to the team and as people thrive in a happy and healthy environment, they actively encourage their employees to engage with sports and keep active. During the last 12 months they have supported their staff in a number of programmes including:
Sport Relief, Colour Run, a sponsored walk along Hadrian’s Wall in aid of The Great North Air Ambulance, the Carlisle Half Marathon, the Workplace Challenge 8 Week Activity Challenge, and will soon be doing the Carlisle Santa Dash.
They have also used the Sugar Smart campaign to promote healthy eating amongst the staff, and now offer free fruit to employees twice a week.
The Active Education Award went to Fairfield Primary School, Cockermouth.
The Active Education Award is open to all schools, colleges or universities operating within the County that can demonstrate a commitment to providing high quality physical activity and sporting opportunities for all students through a wide range of curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities.
At the heart of the Fairfield school’s ethos is a belief that the way to ensure people lead healthy, active lives is to instil a love for outdoor physical activity from a very young age; to develop a pattern of engagement with sporting activities which generates life-long choices and an established routine. They recognise that all pupils are unique, with different drives and interests. As a result, they have developed a wide range of innovative, high quality curriculum and extra-curricular activities which ensure all pupils have the opportunity to discover and build on their own personal abilities and interests.
They offer a blend of family activities; community events; whole school hikes; forest school; quality coaching; competitive team sports; educating through the medium of sport; and investment in the provision of exciting school sports facilities. They are doing this fantastically well.
Richard Johnston, Chair of Judging Panel said: “The Awards were a superb event and an excellent opportunity to celebrate the enormous effort and talents of the sporting stars of Cumbria. We had some great nominations for the awards this year, and I know that our judging panel had a real task to choose all of the deserving winners.
“It just goes to show what great talent and dedication to sport that we have in the county. The support of the media, and our headline and category sponsors continue to make these awards a massive success, acknowledging the quality of our major sports performers and our emerging talent, as well as recognising the very important role played by the army of volunteers and coaches in Cumbria.”