The inaugural West Suffolk Sports Awards, sponsored by Greene King, took place in St Edmundsbury Cathedral last night, in front of a packed audience, with Sally Gunnell OBE as the guest speaker.
This was the first joint sports awards for West Suffolk, delivered by Abbeycroft Leisure on behalf of St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils, celebrating sporting heroes, volunteers, clubs, coaches, teams and individuals.
There were thirteen categories including Sports Personality of the Year, Young Sports Personality of the Year, Club of the Year and Lifetime Achievement plus two public vote awards; the People’s Champion and People’s Youth Champion.
Ian Parker, took the title of Sports Personality of the Year for his role as a Team UK Tchoukball player and coach. Ian also plays and coaches for his local Bury St Edmunds club, mentoring and inspiring many junior players into volunteering and coaching.
Wyn Jones, PE co-ordinator at Westley Middle school was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for over 30 years dedication to the development of all sport and all children within his school and across Suffolk.
Two unexpected guests made their way onto the stage, when Sally Gunnell and BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Lesley Dolphin were taking questions from the audience. Sisters, Isobel 9 and Poppy 6, who both take part in triathlons and junior parkruns, delighted the audience when they asked Sally for her advice on how they could be successful.
Warren Smyth, Chief Executive, Abbeycroft Leisure, said:
“It was a superb evening in a stunning venue and our pleasure to host the first joint awards for west suffolk. The sporting talent we have in this area as well as the many people behind the scenes deserve an evening of celebration such as this, and it provides yet another opportunity to underpin our ambition to become England’s Most Active County”. He added “We are also very grateful to our headline sponsor Greene King and all our award sponsors, without whom, these special events just wouldn’t happen”.
James Ramm, Greene King’s Regional Sales Manager, said:
“We were proud to sponsor the West Suffolk Sports Awards this year and would like to congratulate all the winners. It is important to recognise sporting achievements, and as a local business, it’s great to see the successes in our own community”.
Cllr Jo Rayner, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, said:
“It was an honour to represent both Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury at these inaugural awards. I am always so humbled by the selflessness of individuals to helps others, and these awards highlighted that in abundance. Many activities in the community could not continue without volunteers and this underpins the Councils priority to support our communities in all they wish to achieve. I congratulate all those we recognised – and all those who may be unrecognised, so far – for keeping the spirit of sport strong.’”