On Friday the 22nd November 2019, 350 guests including 84 nominees came together for the annual Lancashire Sports Awards. The awards, now in their 18th year, visited the east of the County for the first time, opting for the highly regarded Dunkenhalgh Hotel to host an extravagant evening of celebration.
The evening was dedicated to honouring the nominees, highly commended and winners from across the County for their achievements in and dedication to sport over the past 12 months. The only awards of their kind, the Lancashire Sports Awards feature nine categories that seek to recognise the talented individuals, inspiring leaders and motivational groups within Lancashire who make Sport great. The diversity of categories ensure the awards are able to cover all avenues that represent sport and physical activity across Lancashire, including community projects that aim to engage people and communities in non-competitive physical activity who previously may not have been interested.
Whilst much of the Awards format remained the same, a new feature of the 2019 awards was the name change: the awards became the Collinson Construction Lancashire Sports Awards to reflect a newly agreed partnership between Active Lancashire and Collinson Construction. Collinson’s contribution to the sports awards compliments their aim of designing and building spaces in the sports and leisure sectors, which in turn have a social impact on communities and individuals. Their involvement was highly beneficial to Active Lancashire who organise the awards, as the charity rely heavily on support from local organizations to be able to host an evening promoting and celebrating sporting achievements across Lancashire. Fortunately, Collinson Construction were one of eight sponsors who were kind enough to offer their support to this year’s event, the other Lancashire-based businesses were Baldwins, Banks Wealth, Davies Sports, Jones Homes (Lancashire), Newground, University of Central Lancashire and Westholme School.
The awards also welcomed a new sporting ambassador in the form of 2-time Olympian and Euro 3000m Champion, Helen Clitheroe. Helen agreed to support the awards earlier in the year, and as well as joining the judging panel, she is also helping to reshape the future of the awards. Current chair of the judging panel, Dave Edmundson, will be officially stepping down in time for the 2020 awards, where Helen will then be taking over after learning the ropes this year.
Year upon year the list of nominees for the awards keeps on growing, and 2019 was no different: there were 84 nominees in total representing 10 districts across Lancashire. This year’s winners were:
- Coach of the Year – Ross Goodwin
- Club of the Year – Accrington Wildcats RLFC
- Community Project of the Year – Lostock Hall Juniors Football Club Cardiac Smart
- The Jimmy Armfield Lifetime Achievement Award – Peter Warden
- Primary School of the Year – Baxenden St John’s CE Primary School
- Secondary School of the Year – Park Community Academy
- Service to Underrepresented Groups – YMCA Fylde Sharks
- Young Achiever of the Year – Erin Green and Alyssa Bristow
- Volunteer of the Year – Zuleikha Chikh
To win any of the Lancashire Sports Awards is a phenomenal achievement, but the greatest accolade of the evening is The Jimmy Armfield Lifetime Achievement Award. This award could undoubtedly be presented to any of the nominees, as they have all dedicated their entire lives to sport and helping others. This year though, the deserving winner was Peter Warden from Preston, for dedicating over 60 years to athletics. He became a much loved Lancashire-based coach after representing Great Britain at the 1964 Olympics, beginning his coaching journey around 1965 where he inspired countless people to achieve success. Now at age 78 he still continues to coach three nights a week, proving that his love of sport has not subsided over the years.
Chief Executive at Active Lancashire, Adrian Leather, commented on the awards
“Every year the awards celebrate and acknowledge individuals, clubs and organizations that make sport a priority within their own lives but also within their own communities, positively impacting those around them. This awards evening brings together numerous people from across the county, all of whom are prime examples of sporting successes regardless of their abilities. Lancashire plays host to those who are starting at grassroots level, through to World Champions, it acknowledges those who are sacrificing their free time to coach and enable clubs or projects to continue running, and to coaches who have brought their teams and students to high achieving levels and victories. The night is truly an inspirational night from every angle and shows how impactful Lancashire is in contributing to sport.”