Stockport’s elite athletes, clubs and volunteers were recognised for their hard work and dedication to sport at the annual Stockport Sports Awards.
Held at Houldsworth Golf Club, winners of the nine awards were announced on the evening by host Dominic McGuinness (TalkSport) and presented by special guests at a glittering dinner.
The event was attended by athletes, their families, supporters and members of Sport Stockport, Life Leisure and Stockport Council.
Guests were treated to a question and answer session with GB and Olympic coach, Sean Kelly (3 x British Coach of the Year & Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008), Head Performance Coach at the Stockport Metro programme since 2001. Since Sean’s reign at the club began he has led many swimmers to World, Olympic, European and Commonwealth success as well as cementing the club’s reputation on both the national and international stage.
John Hargreaves, Chairman of Sport Stockport 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.
“With the help of Life Leisure and the local media, it is envisaged the event will continue to go from strength to strength over the next few years enabling us to continue to encourage both a grassroots and world class mentality to sport 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.”
Fred Perry Sports Personality of the Year
The highlight of the evening was the presentation for up and coming swimming star Lizzie Harris from Stockport Metro who was named the Fred Perry Sports Personality of the Year. Lizzie was presented with her award by Councillor Kate Butler, Councillor for Reddish North and cabinet member for economy and regeneration. Over the past 12 months Lizzie has won 5 British National titles and also travelled to Casablanca for the World School Games where she won 2 titles. She has represented Great Britain and England this year. Lizzie currently trains 10 times a week and still finds time to fit in her college work.
Lizzie’s dad, Councillor Bernard Harris who represents Reddish North, collected the award on her behalf. He said:
“Lizzie is really sorry that she couldn’t make it this evening, but is really proud to receive this award and to be representing Stockport Metro and the Borough at the Greater Manchester Awards”
A diverse range of sports were represented from football and swimming to hockey, softball, weightlifting, martial arts, 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.
Young Achiever of the Year
Becky Bellis was named Young Achiever of the Year. Becky is currently on the England and Great Britain pathway for the sport of Basketball and is one of the final 16 who were selected for the Under 16 Great Britain Team. Just to make it to training she takes 2 buses and the train, demonstrating her commitment to the sport.
Becky, who is a student at Stockport School, said:
“[I’m] really proud to receive this award and proud to be representing the sport of Basketball in Stockport”
Disabled Athlete of the Year
Sophie Forsyth was honoured with the Disabled Athlete of the Year. Sophie is a Rhythmic Gymnast who has competed internationally. Sophie has autism and over the past 12 months has worked extremely hard to overcome some of the issues related to her condition to enable her to reach new heights in gymnastics. Although she has a disability she competes in mainstream competitions. At a recent competition in Bulgaria she finished 5th and 7th and was part of the group who finished 7th in the British Championships.
Outstanding volunteers were also rewarded during the evening
Richard Gregg, Chairman of the Stockport Metro Junior League being named Volunteer of the Year. Richard has dedicated his time since the football league began in 1981 spending many hours organising fixtures, negotiating venue hire, and putting together competitions and trips abroad. When he is not organising the football leagues he is also the Cyber Officer and Welfare Officer for the league.
“It’s a great privilege to win this award, especially after this category was such a tough field with some fantastic achievements. I’d like to say a special thank you to those who nominated me and I am delighted to receive it.”
The Changing Lifestyle Recognition award sponsored by Stockport Council was awarded to Laura Howell. Laura has changed her life by becoming more active and before joining her local gym, Laura weighed 14 stone 2 and after having her second child. She was very low and lacking in confidence and was referred to the PARiS scheme at Life Leisure. By setting small targets and with the introduction of fun exercise classes she has completely transformed her figure and life, finding a new love for the gym and growing in confidence, now weighing just 10 stone.
Club of the Year
Club of the Year was awarded to Stockport Metro Swimming Club, who currently have over 350 swimmers from ages 7-28 years training weekly. Throughout the current season they finished as the 2nd best club at the British Nationals (joint top on gold medals with 12) and were also regional champions in the North West, County Champions for Cheshire, Arena League Finalists, and Junior League A Finalists. Holly Hibbert who swims for the club won a silver and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games and a gold and 2 bronze medals at the European Championships.
Sir Stanley Matthews Unsung Hero Award
Rod Pimlott, a local football referee was honoured with the 2018 Sir Stanley Matthews Unsung Hero Award. Rod originally started as a junior team manager 36 years ago and then moved into refereeing. For decades he has donated all of his referee fees to a local children’s hospice and in total has raised over £50,000 through a combination of his fees, organising raffles and collections at tournaments. Towards the end of his career he took a number of new recruits under his wing helping them with their referee careers.
Coach of the Year
Coach of the Year was awarded to Ian Travis. Ian has been coaching at Stockport Basketball Club for 15 years and in the last 12 months his women’s team has won the WMABL plate for a third consecutive year. He accompanies teams up and down the country for weekly matches, investing huge amounts of his spare time to ensure his team’s success. Not only does he organize the fixtures, venues and licenses, Ian also coaches up to 4 times a week in the season!
Commitment to PE and Sport Award
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 Nevill Road Junior School. The award recognises the schools’ ability to provide High Quality PE to its pupils, but also recognises it’s curricular links to PE and Sport in other subjects, in addition to a wide range of competitive opportunities.
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 16th November.