Sporting achievements celebrated
Reporter: Laura Wild
Date online: 07 July 2011
Around three hundred people joined together on Thursday night (7 July) for the Rochdale Borough Sports Awards.
The evening saw clubs, coaches, volunteers and unsung heroes recognised for the hard work and commitment they put into sports across the borough of Rochdale.
This year has seen the highest number of nominations yet. 144 nominations were made with 123 nominees up for just eight awards.
The Managing Director of Link4Life, Craig McAteer, said: “Once again, the Rochdale Borough Sports Awards provide us with the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate achievements in sport in the borough over the last year.
“The commitment and dedication of the many people, of all ages and backgrounds, whose contribution is being recognised tonight, is an inspiration.
“As always, it is exciting to see the quality of nominations received, the range of sports included and the variety of organisations represented.”
The awards were presented by a variety of people from the borough, including the Mayor, Councillor Alan Godson, the Chairman of Rochdale Football Club Chris Dunphy, the Director of Public Health, Dr Jane Rossini and Kathy Shaw from the Council for Voluntary Services.
Kathy Shaw, said she was “privileged” to present the Volunteer of the Year award and described volunteers as “the backbone of the borough.”
The Chairman of Link4Life, Brian Ashworth said: “The judges were given a very difficult task in choosing the winners, that may be somewhat of a cliché but it is true.”
The winners of the 20010/11 Rochdale Borough Sports Awards were:
- Volunteer of the Year – Steve Lavallee
- Coach of the Year – Leigh Smith
- Club of the Year – Rochdale Company of Archers
- Disabled Sports Achiever – Sarah Kelly
- Sports Achiever of the Year – Mark Kay
- Physical Activity Achiever of the Year – Anita Hardman
- School Sport Partnership of the Year: Primary Schools – St Peter’s CE and St Patrick’s RC. Secondary School – Redwood School, Holy Family RC High School
- Unsung Hero – Maurice Clarke
Award winner information:
Volunteer of the year: Steve Lavallee – Cardinal Langley/Rochdale BasketballHaving been a volunteer for over 30 years Steve is a massive point of knowledge for all aspects of how to assist a club in its development. He also runs two of the three teams at the Club; running one team is a challenge however running two is a massive task. Without Steve the club would simply not exist.
Coach of the Year: Leigh Smith - Saxon Karate
Sensei Leigh Smith teaches Karate at several school based clubs within the Rochdale area on a weekly basis, devoting considerable time to students. Sensei personally coaches classes of students in Norden, Littleborough (twice weekly), and Wardle, whilst also overseeing clubs run by his Black Belt instructors and assistants in SmithyBridge and Whitworth. Sensei takes a prominent role in improving performers, individuals and teams.
Club of the Year: Rochdale Company of Archers
The Rochdale Company of Archers have been recognised as being a Sports Club that is becoming a beacon Community Amateur Sports club in every sense. They are developing at a pace and direction that can be sustained. The work done, and the commitment of its various officers and volunteers, is shown by the recognition the club is getting and confirm they are headed in the right direction.
Disabled Sports Achiever: Sarah Kelly - Rochdale Goalball and Ten Pin Bowling
Sarah is a member of Rochdale Vipers Ten-pin Bowling Club and Goalball. She was talent spotted by Goalball UK at a domestic tournament in Sheffield in October 2010, invited to a Great Britain training camp in November and selected for full, international squad. She travelled to Madrid, Spain in December for an international tournament and scored on her debut. She’s currently training for the 2012 Paralympics.
Sports Achiever of the Year: Mark Kay - West Pennine Sailboard Club
Mark is a role model for his club and sport as he does not just excel and compete but gives up his time to help others to improve. As a winter coach to the Under 18 year old section he inspires others to enjoy and improve at their sport and uses his coaching experience to assist others to reach their potential.
Physical Activity Achiever of the Year : Anita Hardman
Anita used to be sedentary and inactive, until she started playing netball for Bowlee Park Netball Team in 2010. Since September 2010, she has increased her activity levels to 5-7 times per week, including participating in netball, boxercise, zumba, swimming, walking, gym and badminton. She has lost 4 stone in weight and received recognition from Slimming World. She has also encouraged her family to become more active and eat healthier.
School Sport Partnership of the Year:
Holy Family RC & CE College
Nominated for their growing support for the development of PE and Sport in the Rochdale Borough and more specifically Heywood. This relatively small school has embraced the various sporting opportunities and initiatives on offer, benefiting not only its students but also the wider community. They are host to Heywood Cheerleading Club, secondary and primary school gymnastics clubs and a come and play session.
St Patrick’s RC Primary School
Nominated for their continued support for the creation and uptake of sporting opportunities in order for their children to take part and achieve. They have been extensively involved in the training of young leaders to be Playground Pals and Junior Sports Ambassadors, excelling at the Playground Games Challenge which they won two years running and introducing the Sports Leaders UK Young Leader Award. They take on every sport that is offered to them, giving children opportunities that they may not otherwise have. They have had a number of young athletes selected to take part in specialist sports camps through the Gifted and Talented Programme over the past 2 years and have actively encouraged and enabled children with disabilities to attend the Playground to Podium selection days, resulting in one pupil with a hearing impairment being selected for the County Assessment Day.
Redwood Special School
This school highlights what can be achieved with a dedicated staff, an open minded head teacher and a group of children who love to do sport. Garry Smith deserves particular praise for not only giving children with disabilities at Redwood wonderful opportunities, but also for giving all children with disabilities throughout Rochdale, in both special and mainstream education, the same access to high quality sport. Redwood helps Garry to do this by linking clubs, opening its doors and displaying a ‘can do attitude’. Participation results speak for themselves and the number of students who achieve fantastic results at regional and national competitions shows how good the school is at encouraging and developing talent no matter what the challenge.
St Peter’s CE Primary School
Since day one, ten years ago, this school embraced the changes in school sport. They increased their PE allocation on the timetable, they trained staff and they entered SSP events and competitions. Again the importance of the right member of staff is highlighted by the fantastic attitude of their Primary Link Teacher Duncan Bramley. Under his guidance the school now offers its students the widest variety of curricular and extra-curricular sporting opportunities and the children and staff regularly access training opportunities. Perhaps the greatest tribute to St Peter’s is that, whilst there are very few competitions or festivals of sport they will not enter or do, I cannot in ten years remember them winning. Surely this is a school demonstrating the true value of sport.
Unsung Hero: Maurice Clarke - Rochdale Judo Club
Maurice has served for over thirty five years on the club Committee in various capacities. Maurice turned 75 years of age in April 2011 yet still practices two evenings per week at the club, not only with a fellow club member also in his seventies but also with the wider membership. Maurice has for a long time displayed true dedication only recently stepping down from coaching with the junior section of the club. He still attends the club’s regular committee meetings in his capacity as Life President.
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