The talent and dedication of athletes, sports teams, coaches and sport volunteers in Cumbria were celebrated on Friday 25th November at the annual Cumbria Sports Awards. 260 guests, including guest speaker GB Team Athlete - Lutalo Muhammad, congratulated winners at the event held at the Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel in Windermere. The event, in its 32nd year, was hosted by Mike Zeller, presenter of BBC Radio Cumbria’s Breakfast Show. The event also announced the launch of the GLL Sport Foundation in Cumbria.
This year’s winner of the prestigious Sports Personality of the Year Award went to Lauren Smith.
Lauren, from Longtown has had another fantastic year, which culminated in her achieving her lifetime dream, to be part of the Olympic Games. Lauren along with partner, Heather Olver eventually finished in commendable joint 9th place. This was only the 2nd time ever that Team GB have managed to achieve badminton ladies doubles representation in the Olympics.
She also cemented her place as the British no. 1 by successfully defending her national title for te 4th year running.
Since the Olympics she has been unbeaten on the international circuit, her 11 match winning streak since Rio has earned her titles in both the Belgian International & the Czech International in recent weeks and has resulted in Badminton Europe naming her ‘the undoubted Queen of the European Circuit’.
Ben Stokes picked up Cumbria Performance of the Year 2016
Ben smashed his way to greatness earlier this year by hitting the fastest ever double century by an English cricketer, the second fastest in history, on day two of the second Test with South Africa in Cape Town. Ben, in his 21st Test, resumed on 74 and raced to 200 in 163 balls to beat Ian Botham's 220-ball record. He made 258 as England added 312 within 39 overs and declared on 629-6, South Africa reaching 141-2 in reply.
Only New Zealand's Nathan Astle has reached a Test double hundred more quickly, achieving the total off 153 balls against England in 2002.
The Special Award was awarded to Raymond Watson.
Raymond has been involved in the sport of swimming for almost 50 years in a number of roles within the Kendal Amateur Swimming Club, including coaching, secretary, fundraising, running events, supporting regional teams, as well as teaching learners to swim.
The Judging Panel also wanted to recognize his work in researching the history of the club he loves, as he has compiled 6 volumes of photos, reports, information & memorabilia from the clubs rich past from 1886 to the present day. He is devotee of research, and has spent a significant amount of time pulling this timeless piece of information together.
Even in his advancing years, Raymond, who has now retired from poolside due to ill health, still finds time to write reports, and articles for the Westmorland Gazette for both Kendal and Ulverston Clubs. He also continues to publish gala results for individual swimmers analysing their times and position in competitions.
The winner of the Service to Sport Award went to Eleanor Walsh from Cockermouth Swimming Club.
Eleanor has been supporting young people at Cockermouth Swimming Club for 38 years. She was a founder member of the Club, and has been the director of coaching, and secretary during this time.
For most of the year, ‘the boss’ as she is affectionately known, can be found on poolside at 6am, 7 days a week, coaching the next batch of high level swimmers to come through the clubs ranks. She can also be found at each of the Club’s gala events throughout the season, and is always encouraging and supporting all of the swimmers.
Her commitment and dedication have ensured that Cockermouth Swimming Club, and swimmers from Cumbria have been recognized on the national and international stage.
The winner of the Young Sports Leader/Volunteer of the Year Award went to Luke Brown.
Luke has been leading in the world of triathlon and swimming in his local area. Since joining Penrith Swimming Club at the age of 4 he has been a keen and committed swimmer. At the age of 12 he started to help teach younger children to swim. He has been teaching twice a week for the last four years, whilst still taking time to continue his own triathlon training for 20 hours each week. He is an accomplished athlete, finishing 3rd in the North West series last year.
Luke has also created the Swimming Club’s social media platforms, and runs the junior committee. He is a qualified ASA young teacher, and is currently taking his level 1 swim teachers, level 1 triathlon and level 2 fitness instructors certificate.
Ray McBride from Cumbria Wheelchair Sports Club was awarded Volunteer of the Year Award.
Ray comes from the world of Wheelchair Sports, and he has been the driving force behind the growth of a club, which now operates across the north and west of Cumbria. From its beginnings in Carlisle, and under his determined and passionate leadership, the Cumbria Wheelchair Sports Clubs now provides opportunities for hundreds of people with disabilities each week to be involved in sport.
His roles within the club are many and varied, but he has been the driving force behind the growth of the club, and the raising of many tens of thousands of pounds to provide the necessary equipment in order to provide opportunities for young people to be more active.
John Little, was named Cumbria’s Coach of the Year for 2016.
John, from Appleby, and has been continuing his excellent work in the sport of Athletics, specifically the Hammer and Discus events. He is making a significant difference to the performances of a number of Cumbrian athletes including Matthew James and Tara Simpson-Sullivan in the hammer event and Danny Gracie in both the discus and hammer
He also coached Cumbria’s Commonwealth Games Silver Medal winning hammer thrower Nick Miller in his early days, setting him on the pathway to national and international success.
The winner of Community Club of the Year went to Kendal Cycle Club.
The club has grown from nothing to over 300 members in 12 months. They have a well-organized and committed group of volunteers ensuring the club is established on a firm footing, and can already boast a highly interactive website, facebook page, and large twitter following.
The winner of the Performance Award for People with a Disability went to Simon Lawson from Maryport.
After a serious motocross accident in 2001, Simon was left paralysed from the chest down. In 2010 he took up the sport of Wheelchair Racing, and has never looked back!
Over the last 12 months he has achieved a 2nd position in the Great North Run, 8th in the Chicago Marathon, and 10th in the IPC World Cup. This led him to be selected for Team GB at the Rio Paralympics, Cumbria’s only Paralympian in 2016.
He competed in the T54 Men’s Marathon, and despite a problem with his water pack, he still managed a very creditable position of 14th in what were very testing conditions.
Workington Cricket Club 1st Team was named 2016 Team of the Year.
The team achieved a feat this year that is believed never to have happened before in Cumbria. They completed the full season winning every single game. Their winning streak helped them to win a treble of the North Lancashire & Cumbria Cricket League Premier Division, The Higson (League) Cup & the County Cup.
The team fought off a challenge from great rivals Furness Cricket Club who have been dominant for several years, to win the league.
They also comprehensively beat both Kendal and Netherfield Cricket Clubs from the higher level Northern Cricket League to win the County Cup.
Junior Team of the Year went to Cockermouth School Orienteering Team
After competing for many years in the British Schools Orienteering Championships, last December, Cockermouth School Orienteering Team was finally crowned British Large Schools Champions. This followed a number of close seconds over the years, but this time, they had a team of excellent athletes, who all contributed to the teams score, meaning they were victorious by the narrowest of margins. An update on this one is that they have just followed this up by winning the same event again this year, at Sutton Park, Birmingham last week, with an increased margin of victory.
Five 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 Curtis Anderson who is a champion in football and is from Ulverston.
Curtis has been playing football since the age of 5, starting at Crooklands Casuals. He was quickly snapped up by Blackpool FC, and played for them for 2 1/2 years.
In 2012 he signed for Manchester City, and he has been there ever since. His career has progressed and he is now firmly established as Manchester City’s number one, playing across Europe in the Under 18 side, and he has also cemented his place in the England set up, firstly in the Under 16’s and more recently the Under 17 side. In October he was part of the England team that won the Croatia Cup, which included an 8-1 demolition of Germany.
The second Rising Star went to Katie Farley from Newton Reigny, near Penrith, and is excelling in the world of Canoe Polo.
Our winner began Canoeing and started playing Canoe Polo at Penrith Canoe Club at the age of 12. Within two years she had been spotted and began training with the GB Development Squad in Liverpool and made her International Debut for the Ladies GB team at the Age of 14, playing at Ypres (Belgium) in a mixed ladies team consisting of 2 development players, 2 U21’s and 2 senior players. In December 2015 she successfully trialled and gained one of only 15 places in the U21 GB Ladies squad.
After a huge amount of hard work, in May 2016 she was picked for the GB Under 21 World Championship team, finishing a very creditable 4th place. During the summer months as part of this team of 7 players, she also competed in tournaments in France, Germany and Belgium, gaining bronze podium places in both of the European Cups.
The third Rising Star award went Football player Aimee Everett.
From Barrow-in-Furness, Aimee has been playing football since the age of 6 with local boy’s teams. She then trialled for Blackburn Rovers Centre of Excellence at the age of 11 and was signed immediately, and she has continued to play at Blackburn Rovers and is now in their girls U16 squad, where she recently shared their Players Player of the Year award.
For the past year she has repeatedly been selected for the England Women’s U15 squad and she played her first international match in February this year at Dusseldorf against Germany. Following a recent selection event at St George’s Park she has been selected to be part of the England Under 16 Squad for the coming round of internationals.
The fourth Rising Star award went to Brandon Carr from Alston who excels in his chosen sport of Karate.
Brandon is 15 years old and is ranked number 1 in England for Under 18’s in the over 76kg category. During 2016 he has won Gold in the English Championships in his weight category, open weight category, and in the team category. He has also won Gold in the Scottish International Open Championship, as well as Gold in the British and British International plus 70kg weight category. He has also competed internationally, coming second in the Austrian Junior Open beating the third ranked competitor in the world in his weight category along the way.
He came home with Gold in the Basil Masters Open in Sweden as well as winning the Banazai Cup. He has his sights set on a future Olympic Gold Medal!
The fifth rising star went to Esme Davies, from the world of Mountain Running.
This year Esme ran in the Under 17’s Women's England team in September in the British and Irish Home International Junior Mountain Running Championship, taking individual Bronze Medal, and was also the first runner back for England. She helped the England team to a Silver Medal.
Later in September, she represented her School, Queen Elizabeth Grammar, Penrith, in the English Schools Fell Running Championships, where she took Gold in the Year 10/11 girl’s race and became English Schools Champion, breaking the course record by nearly 2 minutes.
Olivia Mason from the world of athletics was named Junior Sports Personality of the Year.
Olivia is the current North of England Champion at both 800m and cross country, and won a bronze medal in the National Cross Country Championships in February, she was placed 4th in the UK Inter Counties Cross Country Championships, running against athletes a year older. Later in the year she competed in Schools International running for England where she ran one of the best races of her career winning in style to become British Schools Champion.
On the flat, she capped off an excellent season by winning the coveted English Schools Junior Girls 1500m title, producing a wonderful sprint finish to win. She then concluded her track season by running 4mins 26sec for 1500m, making her the fastest under 15 girl in Europe over this distance.
The Be Inspired Award went to MRC Gymnastics Club
Just 4 years ago, there had been no gymnastics activity in the town of Millom for over 15 years. A group of ex-gymnasts felt there was a huge need for one; they felt that children in the area were missing out, so they decided to do something about it.
They got together, and have worked tirelessly with colleagues at the Millom Recreation Centre to make this happen.
Fast forward 4 years, and the club now have a thriving membership, with over 210 young people on their books, aged between 3 and 17. As well as regular coaching and competition activities, the club also provides high profile visits to the club to inspire the children even more. Recent guests have included Olympic Gymnasts Beth Tweddle, and Hannah Wheelan, who both took time to talk to the children and pass on their tips and experience.
The club goes from strength to strength, and continues to promote the Olympic and Paralympic values to hundreds of children in the Millom area.