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2014 Cumbria Sports Awards Winners Announced

December 1, 2014

The talent and dedication of athletes, sports teams, coaches and sport volunteers in Cumbria were celebrated on Friday evening at the annual Cumbria Sports Awards. 260 guests, including guest speaker Peter Slater congratulated winners at the event held at the Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel in Windermere. Organised by Active Cumbria, the awards recognise the outstanding talents, commitment and successes of teams and individuals throughout Cumbria who are involved in sport.

This year’s winner of the prestigious Sports Personality of the Year Award went to Tom Younger, who has had a truly outstanding 2014.

From the sport of Karate, Tom is a reigning world champion, a title he won late last year, and this year he has reached further heights, winning every competition he entered.

During the course of the year he has retained his 75kg English and British titles, he has competed at the European Championships in Spain, winning 3 Gold medals, he then went to Germany to compete in the World Champion of Champions Open Weights Finals, winning Gold.

He has even found the time to open his own martial arts school in Barrow-in-Furness, where he is inspiring the next generation with his passion for his sport.

Nick Miller picked up Cumbria Performance of the Year 2014 for coming home from this summer’s Commonwealth Games with a silver medal, which has cemented his place as the best hammer thrower in the country.

Still only 21, he was crowned British Champion, and also had notable success for GB in the European Team Championships, finishing in 4th place, which was the highest ever finish by a British athlete.

However, it was his throw in the final of the Commonwealth Games which was truly exceptional. His throw of 72.99m in his first major championships final, whilst competing against much older athletes does bode extremely well for the future. His second place has given him further confidence to push on to the next level in the coming years.

The Special Award is awarded at the discretion of the Judging Panel, and this year they were keen to acknowledge a man who has represented his country at an exceptionally high level for over two decades - Stuart Airey

Stuart, is a true legend in the world of bowls, has competed for England for 22 years, and has been captain for many years, he won 72 international caps, and recently announced his retirement from the international game following successes all over the world, including the Australian Open Pairs title in 2010, Hong Kong Classic winners on two occasions, and Silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2014.

Stuart is hoping to continue to play individually and plans to compete in the Australian Open in 2015.

The winner of the Service to Sport Award went to Mike ‘Nobby’ Clarke from Hawcoat Park Sports & Spocial Club in Barrow, for his long serving commitment to the club. Mike has been a member of the Club for over 40 years, in his earlier years he played rugby union for the club and has remained an integral member of the rugby section as part of the training tea, a member of the rugby section committee and an active member of the Board of Directors.

For many years he has undertaken the role of voluntary grounds director, working closely with the clubs groundsman, he takes responsibility for overseeing all the facets of the clubs 15 acres of playing fields and grounds. This includes the recruitment and management of a small group of volunteers who assist with the year round maintenance of the grounds.

His duties also include sorting kit before and after matches, cleaning changing facilities, running the line and representing the rugby union section in an ever impeccable manner to name a few, meaning he is well respected by local and visiting players and officials.

The winner of the Young Sports Leader of the Year Award went to Alice Bowler, who is making a real impact at Kendal School of Gymnastics. Alice has been the Gymnastics representative on the club committee for the past 3 years and also volunteers as a coach.

Her extensive involvement in coaching covers recreation, competitive and freestyle groups. She also coached and accompanied a group of at their first competition in which they all came away with a medal including the County Champion! She is an inspiration to other gymnasts that she coaches in her attitude and all she has achieved personally which she passes on through her coaching. She regularly judges at club competitions and helps the club with fund-raising events.

Alice has maintained her voluntary activities throughout the last year whilst doing the first year of her A-level exams.

Jeff Moses from Barrow Amateur Boxing Club was awarded Volunteer of the Year Award for his dedication in the world of Boxing.  Jeff is making a real difference to the lives of young people in the area through the sport of Boxing. He is the driving force behind the club and leads on coaching activities at the Club.

He is also constantly arranging large scale fundraising activities so that he can keep the costs of participating down to an absolute minimum at the club. He also raises funds for local charities from his charity boxing nights.

His influence on the boxers in the town is legendary, as he is a real motivator, and has been described as a force of nature.

Senior sailing instructor Ian Shirra, was named Cumbria’s Coach of the Year for 2014Ian is from Windermere and is making a real difference to competitors in his sport of Blind Sailing.

He supports blind fleet racing as a sighted crew member, coaching within the boat, and late last year he helped the GB team become World Champions. Since then he has turned his attention to supporting the blind match racing team.

He has developed his skills to teach the sailors how to plan their race strategy based on noises and how to gain penalties, and also judging time and distance all based on sound.

This support helped the GB team become 2014 International and World Champions in Blind Match racing.

He has given this time in a voluntary capacity for many years, and is fully committed to helping more young blind sailors progress in their sport.

The winner of Community Group of the Year went to Ulverston Triathlon Club. The winners of this award have been taking great strides in increasing participation in a range of activities for all sectors of the population, particularly the individual disciplines of triathlon.

The club is only one year old and has already firmly established itself in the sporting landscape of the area.

They already have over 100 full members & 200 social members and have supported the training of 5 Level 2, and 6 Level 1 coaches in the last 12 months.  They have an excellent Committee, which has recruited a large number of dedicated volunteers.

They have worked closely with their national governing body of sport and the county sport partnership to develop in the right way, and now offer activities for all ages and abilities, which take place throughout the week, starting with small come and try it sessions for beginners, right through to structured training and events for the more progressive athletes.

The winner of the Performance Award for People with a Disability went to Jake Brown from Barrow. A star in the sport of football, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 9 months old.  

Throughout his life he has always wanted to be seen as the same as his peers and he has played mainstream football throughout his junior career, progressing to senior level, where he presently plays for Askam United in the Furness Premier League.

He was selected to attend an England CP Squad training camp in San Diego, USA.

Since this training camp he has now firmly established himself in the England CP squad, and he has represented England many times, including competing in an international tournament in Spain, and also playing in the European Championships and 7-aside European Championships earlier this year, helping England to a fifth placed finish, their highest for over 20 years. He is currently preparing for the World Championships which are being held at St George’s Park in England in 2015.

North Cumbria British Show Jumping Team was named Cumbria’s 2014 Team of the Year. They have had a wonderful season, culminating in them being crowned National Team Show Jumping Champions.

The team of 4 individual amateur riders represented North Cumbria and were crowned Reserve Champions at the regional finals, following 8 rounds of jumping and only 1 fence down.

At the National Finals, they competed to the highest possible standard and finished the competition, after 8 rounds of show jumping, on zero faults! This meant that they were again in a jump off situation, and it was up to Jon Fletcher to try to go clear, in as quick a time as possible. Jon produced yet another perfect round and a whole second faster than the next team. This made the North Cumbria British Show Jumping Team the National Champions.

Junior Team of the year went to Dowdales School Year 11 Rugby League Team from Dalton-in-Furness. They had a long and arduous journey to be crowned National Rugby League Champion School, which involved winning 7 rounds to claim the title. They defeated schools from Ulverston, Barrow, Whitehaven, Wakefield and Wigan, before defeating Stainburn School from Workington 22-16, in the final at Castleford RLFC.

This is the third time this team have won the National Championships, and the third time they have won this award!

In their 5 years at the school this team has only lost one match, the Year 9 National semi-final, winning 46 out of 47 competitive fixtures. The team also includes 4 boys who have gained International honours, 3 for England Under-16's and one for the Welsh U-16’s

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 Jack Smith from the sport of swimming and triathlon. From Carlisle, this 10 year old is currently holds 11 County swimming records in a variety of disciplines and lengths. He is currently ranked number 1 ten year old in Great Britain in the 50m & 100m Breaststroke and 100m & 200m Individual Medley, in addition to number 2 rankings in 200m Breaststroke, 400m Individual Medley, 50m Butterfly and has top 10 rankings in five other events.

The second Rising Star went to Golfer Natasha Slater from Ulverston, she is the Club Champion, County Junior Champion, County Strokeplay Champion, Scottish Girls Under 16 Champion, a member of the County Ladies Team, and at the age of 14 has also received a call up to represent England Under 16’s in 2 fixtures this year against Spain in Madrid and against Switzerland at Heswall.

The third Rising Star award went to Cyclist Henrietta Colborne from Penrith.. She has won a string of national titles this year including Points Race National Championships, Milton Keynes Youth Race Championships, Youth National 10 Mile Time Trial Championships. She is now a member of British Cycling’s Olympic Talent Pathway and receives the best possible coaching and support to help her progress in her sport.  She also represented the North West at this year’s Sainsbury’s School Games, coming away with a haul of 4 medals.

The fourth Rising Star award went to Georgia Holmes from Haverigg and excels in the sport of Cricket. A student at Furness College, she has played for Haverigg Cricket Club before moving on to represent Lancashire Women. It was during a tour to the middle-east last year with the England Development Squad that her talents were spotted and she was fast tracked into the England Women’s Academy Squad for their tour to Sri Lanka. During the tour she made her debut, taking 1-23 as England won the T20 match to square the series at 2-2.

The final rising star went to Daniel Armstrong, from the world of Water Polo. Daniel was selected for the Great Britain Water Polo Talent Squad from a possible selection of 88 players from throughout the UK who trialed at the GB Water Polo Trials at Cardiff in January 2014. What is exceptional about his achievement is that he was selected for the GB Talent Squad having only joined the sport of Water Polo three months prior to that.

Kyle Bickley from the world of Speedway racing was named Junior Sports Personality of the Year.

His achievements this year include winning the British Under 16 125cc Speedway Championships, he then went on to compete against the best riders in the world at the World Under 16 125cc Speedway Championships, competing against much older riders from Poland, France, Czech Republic, Denmark, Great Britain, and Germany. Amazingly, at the age of just 12, 4 years younger than all of the other riders he came out on top, and was crowned World Under 16 125cc Speedway Champion 2014.

The Brendan Jameson Be Inspired Award went to 12 year old Tyler Baines.

The winner of this award will demonstrate that they are promoting the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, and the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality and Tyler certainly shows these qualities in abundance.

In 2006, following a road traffic accident Tyler was left with a serious spinal cord injury. He is now largely reliant upon his wheelchair, but hasn’t let that stop him pursue his love for basketball.

Tyler has been playing wheelchair basketball for two years, and at the age of 12 he is now playing in under 15 events. Tyler represents the North West and has helped them win the National Championships.

His prowess has led the national governing body start to put in place a programme for him to transition into their under 23 set up as soon as he is 15.

His dedication, attitude and positivity radiate to all he comes into contact with, and he is a true inspiration to other young people in his school and locality. He has his sights now firmly set on competing for Team GB at the Paralympics. He epitomizes the Olympic and Paralympic values

Richard Johnston, Senior Manager at Active Cumbria 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 excellent 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 awards 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”.

For photographs from the Sports Awards Evening please click here