The county’s top athletes and many of the people who work tirelessly for sport at a grass roots level were celebrated at the sixth Wiltshire Sports Awards on 21 October.
More than 100 nominations were received by Wiltshire Council this year, all of which highlighted the exceptional work and achievements of athletes, sports clubs, volunteers and coaches across Wiltshire.
The top nominations from each category were invited to the awards event, hosted by former England rugby captain Phil de Glanville and featuring special guest speaker, serial adventurer James Ketchell. James is the first person to have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, successfully summited Mount Everest and cycled 18,000 miles around the world.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “Once again the Wiltshire Sports Awards have proven to be a wonderful celebration of the hard work and dedication of many people at all levels of the sporting community in the county.
“It is a showcase for the hard work of athletes and the sheer dedication of all those people who put in so much time and effort throughout the year to ensure our grass roots sports clubs are able to offer residents of all ages the opportunity to get involved in sport.”
Maggie Rae, corporate director, said: “All the nominees were hugely inspirational, and it was wonderful to hear their stories. Sport plays a major part in maintaining good health and wellbeing and I am sure the success of all these athletes will help to encourage more of us to get involved in sport and live more active, healthier lives.”
James Ketchell said “It was fantastic to see the commitment and hard work that is going on day in day out at all levels of sports in Wiltshire and to see that recognised this evening.”
The winners in each award category were:
Sports personality of the year
Award sponsored by Spire FM
Hannah Brown, of Melksham
2015 saw Hannah’s best season yet racing K1 and K2. At the Copenhagen World Cup in the K1 200m she finished seventh and in the World Championships in the K2 200m Hannah and her team mate finished fourth, in an extremely close final where they were only 0.03 seconds off a bronze medal. Hannah is a member of the GB Canoeing senior team who are aiming to compete at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Young sports personality of the year (Age 16 years and under)
Award sponsored by Places for People Leisure Ltd
Lucy-Jane Matthews, of Salisbury
Inspired by Jessica Ennis-Hill at the London Olympics in 2012, Lucy-Jane only took an interest in athletics in the last three years. During this time she has climbed the UK rankings finishing this season as U13 60m hurdles number 1, long jump number 1, indoor pentathlon number 1, 100m number 2 and high jump number 4. She has set new UK all-time records in the U13 60m hurdles and indoor pentathlon. Although only 12 she competed at the England Athletics indoor U15 girls 60m hurdles in Sheffield, where she finished a credible fourth. As well as training and competing, Lucy-Jane attended a young sports leader course and also volunteered to help at the summer star track athletics camp delivering a ten minute hurdles session under the guidance of the lead coach.
Sports personality of the year – Athlete with a disability
Award sponsored by Places for People Leisure Ltd
Lauren Booth, of Chippenham
Lauren is a 14-year-old C4 cyclist from Chippenham, and she is a member of the British Cycling GB Academy. The last 12 months have seen Lauren win on both the track and the road. Her successes have included becoming 2014 British Cycling National Champion in the 500m time trial. Lauren is also British record holder 2k Pursuit Youth, as well as the senior and junior British record holder for the women’s C4 flying 200m and C4 500m time trial, and is the world record holder for the women’s C4 flying 200m. At the 2015 British Championships, Lauren won a silver in the flying 500m time trial and a bronze in the flying 200m sharing the podium with two London 2012 medalists.
Unsung hero of the year
Julia Mannering, of Chippenham
Julia has carried out numerous roles within Chippenham Sailing and Canoe Club including treasurer, fundraiser, child welfare officer, committee member and coach over the last eight years. She dedicates between 15 and 20 hours a week to ensure that more adults and children have the opportunity to get out on the water through weekly coaching sessions. Julia’s fundraising efforts have secured in excess of £130,000, enabling the club to purchase new kayaks and canoes. It was also used to build a new club facility, a project that included securing the transfer of land from the local authority, installation of a new track to the slipway, new storage facility and fully accessible changing facility. Julia has worked with other organisations such as schools and other community groups in Chippenham to promote the club and to develop participation opportunities.
Long service to sport
Ron Pankhurst, of Salisbury
Ron has been a volunteer at Salisbury Stingrays Swimming Club for 44 years. During this time he has taught hundreds of children how to swim as well as coaching the water polo squad, training life guards and coaching competitive swimmers of all ages. He has carried out numerous club roles including club president. Ron has helped to give advice on pool requirements to the designers when the pool was built at Five Rivers. He currently coaches 30 swimmers aged from 18-80 years old twice a week throughout the year.
Young volunteer of the year (Ages 18 years and under)
Charlotte Stubbs, of Melksham
Charlotte is an assistant coach at both Melksham Swordfish Swimming Club and Corsham Swimming Club. Over the last year Charlotte has gained her Level 1 qualification and coaches as a volunteer up to six hours a week at both senior and junior sessions. Charlotte is currently completing her Level 2 qualification. In December 2014 Charlotte was one of 20 coaches selected out of 250 to attend a National Talent Camp for swim coaching.
Coach of the year – Voluntary
Ritchie and Chrissie Lamb, of Calne
ASA Swimming Level 2
Ritchie and Chrissie are the head coach and deputy head coach for Calne Alpha Swimming Club. They oversee the coaching programme of the club which includes sessions for swimmers aged five years old up to masters level. In the last 12 months the club sent a record ten swimmers to the South West Regional Championships winning a gold and two silver medals. A summer pre-session camp was also delivered which culminated in a session at the London Aquatics Centre. Ritchie and Chrisse have worked with the Aquae Sulis Performance Club in Bath to provide a pathway for their swimmers. They are working towards their Level 3 qualification and are part of the Aquae Sulis coach mentoring programme.
Coach of the year – Professional
Shaun Green, of Figheldean
Triathlon, Level 3 Coach; ASA Swimming, Level 2; British Cycling Road and TT Coach, Level 2
Shaun has been a coach for 27 years. During this time he has been involved in every level of sport from teaching swimming to a wide range of children, to being the Team Guyana Cycling Coach for both the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games and the team manager at the UCI World Championships. He has helped coach triathletes to age group success at the World Championships as well as representing GB at the age group World Championships himself. Last year, having identified the need for a friendly community club on Salisbury Plain that would welcome all abilities and ages, he set up the Stonehenge Triathlon and Road Club. Shaun has developed coaching sessions that encourage new people in to the sport, with many members completed their first triathlon this year, while also challenging the more experienced members.
Young coach of the year (Age 25 years and under)
Corey Overend, of Trowbridge
UKCC Level 1 Basketball, StreetGames, Rugby and Volleyball
Corey is a talented young coach who has worked on various projects including the Wiltshire StreetGames Doorstep Sports Club programme, Kick It Out and schools festivals. He has helped to coach and inspire young participants in activities including football, basketball and volleyball. Earlier this year, Corey was appointed to the prestigious role of National Youth Advisor for the sports charity StreetGames.
Sports club of the year
Chippenham Moonrakers Gymnastics
This club has more than 400 members and provides more than 18 hours of coaching on a weekly basis. Its gymnastics coaching programme has helped some of its gymnasts to success at various events. These include a top ten placing at the South West Regional Spring Board Championships and a silver at the West Country League Regional Finals. The club programme also offers leadership opportunities to older members, allowing them to gain qualifications and experience in leading training sessions. The club coaches have broadened their skills by obtaining British Gymnastics ‘Free G’ qualification. This has allowed them to deliver free running sessions in partnership with the Chippenham Local Youth Network during the summer to young people aged 13-19 years old who had not taken part in gymnastics previously.
Sports team of the year
Chippenham Rugby U15s
In the 2014/2015 season, Chippenham Rugby U15s won every competition they entered. This included winning the Wiltshire Cup, the Dorset and Wilts Cup and winning the Bristol Combination Cup. In addition to this, the team has provided 15 players for the county rugby development programme with 13 selected to represent the Dorset and Wilts County team. Of these players eight have been selected for the Bath Rugby Elite Player Development group, with one selected for the England U15 development group.
Chippenham Rugby 1st XV
Following relegation in 2013/2014, Chippenham Rugby 1st XV bounced back to become South West 1 East Champions in 2014/2015. They also won the Bath Combination Cup in the same season. The club prides itself on its player development structure which is demonstrated by the fact that 32 of the 45 players have come through the minis and junior player pathway within Chippenham RFC.
Three Highly commended were awarded to:
Coach of the Year – Professional
Aimee Parsons Dance and Multi skills
Aimee coaches each week at three Wiltshire DoorStep Sports Club sessions and as part of the Wiltshire Skate Series. She has also coached on disability sports programmes including Rising Stars (8-16 Inclusive Community Sports Club) and Fit Club (Adult Inclusive Community Sports Clubs). Aimee has also helped to support Inclusive Holiday Activity days across the county and has undertaken ‘challenging behaviour’ training to help to further her coaching skills.
Unsung Hero of the Year
Bill has helped maintain the ground at Chippenham Cricket Club for 13 years. He has walked behind the mower, sat on the roller and carried out every job, no matter how small, in order to prepare pitches for 100 games a year for the last 10 years. As well as maintaining the ground, he has built fences, erected storage sheds, refaced the scoring box and landscaped the approach to the club. Bob’s dedication and loyalty to the club was rewarded five years ago when he was made president and life member.
Sports Personality of the Year
Fiona Price – Athletics
Fiona was part of the GB team that won team silver at the World Masters Half Marathon Championships in Hungry in 2014. She followed this up with a bronze medal in the 10k road race at the European Championships in Italy. At the British Masters Championship, Fiona won a silver medal in the 5,000m and set a British Masters record for the one hour. Fiona was the winner of the Wiltshire Athletics Association Veteran Female Athlete of the Year.