Blackpool’s finest sports stars, coaches, clubs and volunteers were honoured for their achievements at the Altogether Now – A Legacy For Blackpool Community Sports Awards 2014.
Hundreds enjoyed the ceremony at Bloomfield Road on Thursday evening (3 April) where local sports stars from various community clubs and the professional world of sport were honoured. As well as recognising the talent and achievement of individuals, these awards paid tribute to those who selflessly give up so much of their time to allow others the chance to par take in community sport.
The main award saw boxer Brian Rose win the prestigious Wilkinson Sword after what has been an extremely successful year in the ring and a much anticipated world title fight in America scheduled for June still to come.
Coach of the Year went to Sam Owen of Blackpool Cricket Club, who has as well as being in charge of Blackpool Cricket Club’s Junior Coaching Scheme, coached the club’s under 15 and under 17 teams in the 2013 season during which they were both unbeaten.
Blackpool Stanley Rugby League Club received the Community Club of the Year award as it continues to thrive outside of the sports heartland thanks to a much admired youth policy. Young people at the club are exempt from paying subscriptions of any kind and the numbers participating in the sport has increased year on year
The Team of the Year award went to Blackpool Cricket Club under 17’s who have had an extremely successful year winning a third trophy in as many years and sustained an unbeaten run which dates back to July 2011.
Talented young wheelchair athlete, Isaac Towers picked up the Disability Sports Award. Following a string of impressive results and world rankings during 2013, he reached the final 10 of the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and was recognised by British Athletics who placed him on their Potential Paralympic Funding programme.
Blackpool Aquatics Amateur Swimming Club (ASC) enjoyed a double celebration as Ashleigh Reid, won the Young Volunteer of the Year award for her dedicated efforts in a variety of roles at the club despite simultaneously studying for her A-Levels. Another member, Susan Marshall was recognised with the Adult Volunteer of the Year award for all of her selfless hard work to help swimmers with competition entries, fundraising and general administrative support.
Extremely talented pole vaulter, Fiona Hockey won the Young Achiever of the Year award as she continues to take competitions by storm. Such is her talent she has already won medals in older age categories at various events.
Three special individuals were all recognised with a Lifetime Achievement award. Gary Whittle, chairman of Blackpool Aquatics ASC, was recognised for his 25 year involvement with local swimming in which he has helped organise various local and regional events as well as helping to train officials for the Olympic and Paralympic games.
Graham Pitman has given more than 40 years unbroken service to the game of rugby league – 35 of these with Blackpool Stanley, of which he is a founder member. He has been influential in promoting the game of rugby league across the Fylde coast, introducing the sport to the school curriculum and promoting the town across the rugby league heartland.
Mick Coltham’s unwavering commitment as treasurer of Bispham Junior Football Federation has helped transform the Federation’s financial position. This enabled the improvement of the clubhouse; the building of a sports hall; and provided every squad with a playing and training kit and equipment. Long after his own son finished his junior football career, Mick has continued his sterling work which sees the club in its strongest financial position ever.
John Blackledge, Assistant Chief Executive, Leisure and Operational Services at Blackpool Council paid tribute to the executive committee of Blackpool Sports Council and commended the “amazing job” they do. He said: “The amount of money that has been put into Blackpool is absolutely incredible, the facilities we’ve got are second to none.
“It is about sport for all and creating opportunities, talent is nothing without opportunity.”
“Here in Blackpool there are some disadvantaged people, people who find it difficult to get onto that positive journey of life in our town, particularly children and young people. Sport really does have something special to offer and is often the key to a better life.”
Dr Amanda Doyle, Chief Clinical Officer of NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “This celebration of community sport in Blackpool has been fantastic. It has been extremely humbling to hear all the inspirational stories about all of the nominees. Given the importance of community sport in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I am delighted that Altogether Now has been supporting this event as it plays such a key role in promoting healthy living.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- Altogether Now – a Legacy for Blackpool is a partnership between the NHS in Blackpool (Clinical Commissioning Group and Hospitals Trust); Blackpool Council and Blackpool Football Club. The all-inclusive programme is aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people in Blackpool, irrespective of age, race, gender or ability through increased physical activity, lifestyle changes and an awareness of the role mental health and wellbeing play in overall health.