This has been another fantastic year in Fylde coast youth sport and it was reflected in the excellent quality of the nominations for this year’s AllStars Awards.
We received exceptional nominations in each of our eight awards categories and so felt the need to assemble an outstanding panel of judges for the extremely difficult task of choosing finalists in each category and ultimately of choosing our winners.
So in addition to regular judges Andy Moore of The Gazette and Tim Craven of Blackpool Sixth Form College, we asked four inspirational representatives of Fylde coast sport to judge this year’s awards.
They were British lightweight boxing champions Scott Cardle, new Lancashire Cricket Club captain Steven Croft, Fylde Rugby Club forward and head coach Paul Arnold, and England Under-23 sprint champion Katy Wyper from Blackpool Wyre and Fylde Athletic Club.
Given the quality of this year’s nominees, it was no surprise that the voting was the closest we have ever had for the AllStars Awards, There were no runaway winners, and the leading candidates in most categories were separated by just one or two votes.
As such, those nominees who reached the final two and were been invited to last week’s star-studded ceremony at Blackpool Sixth Form College all impressed our judges greatly.
Any of them could have been winners and this year’s runners-up only narrowly missed out on the award.
The ceremony last Wednesday was the usual spectacular celebration for Fylde coast youth sport and our thanks as always to co-organisers Blackpool Sixth for staging such a memorable event.
And now, here are the winners and runners-up in the 2015 AllStars Awards.
The descriptions of each of our finalists are provided by those who nominated them and are not the words of our judges.
As always, we trusted those making nominations to provide only honest and accurate information in the spirit of the AllStars Awards.
Thanks to everyone who played a part in making the AllStars Awards 2015 such a success.
1. OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL OF PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE, sponsored by Blackpool Transport
Winner: JAKE MOORE
Nine-year-old Jake is a phenomenally gifted and focused black belt 1st Dan in karate. In his two years competing, he has won 34 medals, 22 of them gold.
In 2015 he has competed nationally and internationally. He is the holder of 10 titles in Kata and Kumite and this year has won 16 medals in 11 competitions.
He is a dedicated member of the TKF GB Team and travels the world competing and winning with them. He has also won titles in Hungary and Italy.
His dedication and determination are most impressive, and on top of this he is a lovely polite young man, who trains every spare minute and also mentors younger students in his dojo.
Runner-up: JESSIE ALLEN
Eight-year-old Jessie has had an outstanding year in the pool.
In January, when still only seven, she beat her Gold challenge time of 25 minutes by over four minutes at the very first attempt.
Inspired by 2012 Allstars Team of the Year Ron’s squad (of which she became a member), Jessie travelled to Millfield School in Somerset to swim for the first time in an Olympic-sized pool and qualified to represent Team GB at the World Biathle Tour in Italy.
Jessie continued to practice hard, showing exceptional improvements in her swim and running performances. Jessie celebrated her eighth birthday by winning a gold medal at the Hull leg of the British biathle series.
In Italy, Jessie defied hot temperatures and an international field to be the first British team member to finish, taking an individual bronze and helping GB to take the overall team trophy.
Like the rest of Ron’s Squad, Jessie has donated food for Blackpool Homeless and was due to take part in November’s Big Swim to help fund clean water for people in Malawi and promote swimming among young schoolchildren, particularly girls.
Jessie is a shining example of hard work, success, encouraging others and giving back through sport.
2. OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL OF SECONDARY SCHOOL AGE, sponsored by Blackpol
Winner: JASMINE HEAPS
Jasmine is 15 years old and attends Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College. She has been fencing since she was seven years old and after eight years of dedicated training she became the England Girls Under-15 Epee Champion this year.
In addition, she has been selected for the Great Britain Cadet Epee Fencing squad for her first international competition in Heidenheim, Germany. Jasmine is also the current North West ladies champion.
Runner-up: IMOGEN HILL
Imogen is 13 years old and races for Blackpool BMX Club at Stanley Park. She races at regional, national and international level. She represented GB at this year’s World Championships in Belgium and won through to the final, gaining a world ranking of eight.
She is currently ranked fourth in the UK, despite breaking a leg this year, preventing her participating in some events, including the British Championships.
In October she was commended by British Cycling and invited to become a GB Cycling Olympic Development Apprentice for 2015-16.
Imogen is also an accomplished footballer. Having played for boys’ as well as girls’ teams, she was a member of the Blackpool FC Girls team that won last season’s West Lancashire League Cup, scoring a goal in the final.
She has been Blackpool Girls’ top scorer for the past two seasons was also selected for Lancashire FA U14s last season.
Imogen is also a keen athlete representing St Mary’s Academy in local and regional competitions. She was a member of the squad which won this year’s Inter-Faith games in Blackpool .
At this year’s St Mary’s sports presentation evening, Imogen won four awards: Manager’s Player Award for Football, Managers Player Award for Rounders, Outstanding Girl in Athletics and Outstanding Sportswoman.
3. TEAM OF THE YEAR OF PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE, sponsored by Playtime Ltd
This was one of two extremely close categories in which only a single vote separated the top two.
Winner: HOLY FAMILY
PRIMARY SCHOOL ATHLETICS TEAM
Holy family is a small primary school and its athletics team has done tremendously well. They are currently the Blackpool Y3/4 Quad kids champions, the Youth Games champions and the Fylde Coast cross country team champions. They were also runners-up in the Indoor Athletics final, in which they were narrowly beaten by a much larger school.
They now have numerous children who train with Blackpool Wyre and Fylde Athletic Club and compete for the club. They train really hard and work well as a team. The pupils, teachers and parents are all exceptionally proud of the team’s commitment and determination.
Runner-up: BJFF BLADES FC UNDER-11s
This is an outstanding team. They won the Poulton and District Primary League division 1A and the Coulton Cup last season. To finish the season off , they won the prestigious BJFF summer tournament, competing against some of the best teams in Lancashire. They are a great bunch of lads, who love to learn and are extremely well behaved.
4. TEAM OF THE YEAR OF SECONDARY SCHOOL AGE, sponsored by Playtime Ltd
Winners: BLACKPOOL SCORPIONS RUGBY LEAGUE CLUB UNDER-15s
This group of lads came together back in 2014 from a rugby union background. They had never played rugby league before and in their first season they started at the bottom of division 3. They went through the season undefeated and won the league.
In 2015 they came up against very strong teams in division two but again completed the season undefeated to win the title and promotion.
It is believed they are the only team in the entire North West Counties League structure (which includes over 1,000 players) to have won all their games two seasons running.
This year they scored 786 points and conceded only 102. 11 of the 23 players have been invited for trials with Super League clubs (Wigan, Warrington or Salford).
Runners-up: SOUTH SHORE ACADEMY YEAR 11
This team has been a team together since the girls were in Year 7. The team combines A-star pupils with those who have behaviour issues. However, they have clicked and work together using each other’s strengths.
Their behaviour is always good and respectful to all teams and they have been undefeated this year, winning their final match by half a rounder. It was an honour and privilege for staff to work with these pupils, many of whom have used this team and sport to overcome various issues.