The Downham and District Sporting Heroes Awards were held on 11th October in a packed out Downham Market Town Hall. After an incredible year of sport, it was an opportunity to publically celebrate the dedicated individuals who do so much for local sport in our area. Downhamweb is now able to publish details of the award winners and offer our own congratulations to the winners and all those who took part.
And the 2012 Sporting Heroes are:
Master Sports Person of the Year – Sponsored by The EDP Cath Duhig – a member of Ryston Runners, Cath has been competing for 25 years at a high level in race walking winning many National, European and World titles. In July this year she travelled to the European Championships in Germany where she won two bronze medals and following this competed at the UK Athletics 10K Championships where she was placed 7th in the country. The judges felt that Cath was a truly inspirational athlete.
Sports Woman of the Year – Sponsored by Downham Market Leisure Centre Marie French – a member of Ryston Runners, Marie is a determined and committed athlete who took the Country track and field titles over 1500m and 5000m in May. She has also won the Grand East Anglian Run (GEAR), broken the club records for 1500m and 3000m and secured the country 10 mile title. Sports Man of the Year – Sponsored by Downham Market Leisure Centre Matt Pyatt – a member of Ryston Runners, Matt showed incredible determination to regain his fitness after several years away from the sport. Matt won the 800m at this year s Masters Track and Field Championships. The judges felt that Matt was a great ambassador for both his sport and his club, and was an inspiration to others.
Coach of the Year – Sponsored by The Lynn News Rebecca Tuff – the main coach at Ryston Runners on a Monday night. At just 21 Rebecca is one of the youngest UK Athletics coaches. Despite a major illness in 2011, Rebecca has gone on to become an essential and influential part of the Ryston Runners Development Programme. Congratulations also to nominees Phil Bancroft, Allison Lee, Martyn Whardle and Kevin Holman. Support in Sport – sponsored by The West Norfolk Sports Council Don Rowell – president of the Downham Town Cricket Club and chairman of Downham Town Sports Federation. Don has worked tirelessly to help create numerous financial opportunities for the cricket club and sports federation. Congratulations also to nominees Peter Duhig, Martin Ive, Frances Rayner, Ben Watts and Denise & Marc Lakey
Team of the Year – Sponsored by Winning Ways Downham Village Games Team – won for the second year running the small market town/large village category at Active Norfolks Village Games County Finals. Downham s Village Games Coordinator, Frances Rayner, entered a team into twelve of the thirteen events, and they came home with six 1st places, five 2nd places and one 3rd place. Congratulations also to nominee Ryston Running Club.
Disabled Sports Person of the Year – Sponsored by Active Norfolk Derek Dane – a member of the Downham Market Short Mat Bowls Club. Through sheer determination Derek has overcome the effects of a severe stroke and judges felt he was a real role model to others. Congratulations also to nominees Oliver Kenny and Tony Day.
Junior Sports Person of the Year – Sponsored by Downham Leisure Centre Ben Rayner – following local and regional success in Acrobatics and Tumbling Ben went on to compete in the 2012 NDP British Gymnastics Finals in Stoke on Trent and was part of the team that won a bronze medal for their class and age group. At eleven years old Ben is a dedicated and inspirational athlete. Congratulations also to nominees Eleanor Payne English, Harvey Whardle, Milli Delaney, Joe Rolf, Rachel Skinner, Robert MacQueen, Jacob Stacey, Mackenzie Lewis, Charlie Williams and Dale Hellard.
Young Sports Person of the Year – Sponsored by Downham Town Sports Federation Adam Hughes – a current Welsh and GB Junior International Rower. This year Adam was selected and attended the Junior European Rowing Championships and won two gold medals. Adam aspires to row for the GB Team and represent his country at the Olympics. Congratulations also to nominees Ed Borman, Jade Nicholson and Chris Sharp.
Sports Event of the Year – Sponsored by The College of West Anglia Ryston Runners AC Shouldham Warren Grand Prix Series Congratulations also to nominee Downham Market Water Festival Undoubtedly the judges had a hard job choosing from a strong selection of nominees, all of whom should be congratulated for their consistent hard work and dedication. Thanks to LongSmith Photography for the supply of the award winners photograph used in this post.