Exceptional and inspiring sports personalities have been recognised for their efforts and achievements at the annual North West Leicestershire Sports Awards at Hermitage Leisure Centre.
The event on Thursday 23 November celebrated the amazing successes of sportsmen, women, team and clubs from across the district.
BBC Radio Leicester’s Ian Stringer played host for the evening, and was joined on stage by Rebekah Tiler, a British weightlifter who holds all three national records in the 69kg class.
Entertainment was also provided by the Savage Skills stunt team who produced some exceptional stunt biking skills in their routine.
There were 15 winners on the night and some of the highlights included:
Senior Sportsperson of the Year – Gaynor Watts
- Duathlon athlete for Great Britain. Qualified for the 2017 World Championships finishing 8th
- Fits in her training around being a single mother of three and studying a pilates course which she passed with 100% marks.
Club of the Year - Hermitage Harriers Running Club
- Membership has grown to over 150 runners in 2017 (47% men 52% women), ranging from those new to running through to elite athletes
- The men’s senior and veterans teams ended the season at the top of Leicestershire Road Running League Division 1, and won the East Midlands Grand Prix series
- The Men’s and ladies’ senior teams came first and second respectively in Division 1 in the 2016/17 Derby Runner XC league.
Disabled Sportsperson of the Year – Karim Chan
- GB para-athlete, finishing 5th in the long jump at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai
- Winner of gold medals at the England Athletics Age Groups Championship, IPC World Juniors Athletics Championship and at the UK School Games 2017 in both 100m and Long Jump.
Senior Volunteer/Coach of the Year – Elizabeth Lester
- Instrumental in setting up the Cubs team at Coalville Rugby Football Club. This is a team that plays on Sunday mornings for children aged three to six years old
- One of the main organisers of Coalville's annual mini festival.
Junior Volunteer of the Year – Jemima Haines
- Over the years as a badminton player Jemima has shown dedication to the sport, but came into her comfort zone when she started to work with the young players. She is a natural, so patient and understanding, and explains things well
- Jemima has used the knowledge gained through her level one coaching course to help the players at the after school badminton sessions at Hermitage Leisure Centre and at the Whitwick Junior Badminton Club.
Gaynor Watts, Senior Sportsperson of the Year, said: “I felt very humbled and honoured to receive my award. This year in particular I have represented my country at European and World Championship level in middle and long distance duathlon, which in itself was such an immense acknowledgment of my dedication to following my dreams and regaining some self worth and identity.
“The award topped off such a fabulous year for me and made me feel like a very valued member of our sporting community.”
Jemima Haines, 18, Junior Volunteer of the Year, said: “I was surprised to be nominated for the award, but delighted when I was named the winner. Volunteering at Whitwick Junior Badminton Club is something I really enjoy and I will keep doing it for as long as I can.”
Councillor Alison Smith MBE, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for North West Leicestershire District Council, said: “Well done to everyone nominated for an award and huge congratulations to the winners – you deserve it.
“I think it fills us all with pride to see not only the incredible sporting achievements of some of these winners, but also the community spirit among our sportspeople, clubs, coaches and schools. Unsung heroes put in a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment into sport in North West Leicestershire, and it’s absolutely right that this is celebrated at the awards night.”