Downham Market has been named Best Sporting Village of the Year 2016 at an Awards Ceremony held at Open in Norwich last week.
The event, which took place on 15th November, was hosted by Active Norfolk and compered by Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas.
Having been nominated in both 2012 and 2015, this was to be Downham’s night. One of three shortlisted nominees in its category, Downham went on to beat competitors Fakenham and Hethersett, to take the crown.
Town Councillor Charlie Pyatt, who attended the award ceremony, explained that ‘The title of the award might confuse people as Downham Market is not a village. This award category was open to applications from all communities and on this occasion it was great to see that three small market towns had been shortlisted which makes the award feel more equitable.’
Frances Rayner, who also attended the awards on behalf of the town, stated that ‘there is so much hard work and commitment in Downham from volunteers across a range of activities and it is this that has driven up participation and an enthusiasm for getting out and getting involved’.
Downham’s nomination was based on the increased participation of sport and healthy activity in the town which centres around well organised events such as The Downham Games, Norfolk Village Games and free taster activities such as running, cycling and netball.
Sally Gooderson, volunteer at the Downham Games and keen participant at the Village Games, summed up the feelings of everyone by saying,‘This is an amazing achievement and it is down to the hard work that goes in to the planning and organising but also being able to inspire people to take part.’