THE Fylde coast’s brightest young sporting stars were honoured at the first ever AllStars awards ceremony.
AllStars invited readers’ nominations for individuals, teams and coaches who deserved recognition at the inaugural AllStars Awards ceremony.
Our panel of judges – including champion cricketer Steven Croft, Fleetwood Town footballer Jamie Milligan and Paralympic medallist Shelly Woods – scrutinised the many nominations and selected the winners.
The awards were run jointly by The Gazette and Blackpool Sixth Form College, which staged last Thursday’s ceremony in its magnificent new theatre. It was the perfect setting for the winners and runners-up to be revealed and to take to the stage to receive their awards, prizes and certificates.
Awards were awarded in ten categories for primary and secondary school age groups.
The highlight of the evening arrived when wheelchair racer Woods announced which of the ten had also won our ultimate prize as AllStars Star of the year.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves ... over the next six pages we congratulate the winners and runners-up in the order they were revealed on the big night.
The evening began with Gazette deputy Alison Bott welcoming the nominees and guests before Blackpool Sixth Form Principal Felicity Greeves welcomed everyone to the college.
Felicity introduced our master of ceremonies, Ged Mills, and the ceremony was under way ...
OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL (PRIMARY)
Ellie Spooner: Ellie captained the Blackpool and West Lancashire under-10 football teams and helped Moor Park to victory in the Blackpool Schools League Cup. She also represented her school at athletics, tag rugby, netball and swimming.
Nomination (by John Spooner): Ellie is an enthusiastic, inspirational, sportsperson who, in the last year has successfully represented her school, club and representative team.”
Judges’ comments: Ellie Spooner is a great all-rounder who has captained the Blackpool and West Lancashire under-10 football reams as well as representing her team at athletics, tag rugby, netball and swimming.
Will Gair: Shakespeare Primary pupil Will has represented Fleetwood with distinction at cricket, football and rugby union. He was players’ player of the year for the title-winning cricket team and was selected for Wyre district as wicketkeeper. He is a prolific point-scoring full-back for a rugby team unbeaten in four years and was manager’s player of the season for Fleetwood Town FC.
Nomination (by Helen Gair): Will has represented Shakespeare sports teams since he was eight and during 2011 competed in seven different teams with various successes.
Judges’ comments: Will is no stranger to accolades having been named as player’ player of the year for his cricket team and was manager’s player of the season for Fleetwood Town U11s.
OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL (SECONDARY)
Oliver Hopkins: Oliver’s determination to succeed in his studies is matches by his dedication to athletics. Ranked the No.3 400m runner in the North, Oliver has set new records in being crowned Lancashire Schools and Lancashire County champion, and has seen selected for England at the UK School Games.
Nomination (by Vicky Huyton): “I have been a coach for over 12 years and have worked with various athletes from beginners to international and yet have never worked with an athlete who is so determined to reach his goals.”
Judges’ comments: Oliver’s determination to succeed in his studies is matched by his dedication to athletics. Oliver sets targets which he hits with great success, extending from the local to the international arena.
Lucy Bowes: Lucy’s huge potential and total commitment to swimming has been recognised at an elite national level, resulting in her being earmarked as a genuine Olympic prospect for 2016. Also a keen synchronised swimmer, St George’s School pupil Lucy has attended GB training camps overseas and travels to Trafford every day to train.
Nomination (by Christine Ibbotson): “Lucy is in the GB squad for training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio! True dedication, time consuming and sometimes tiring, with all the schoolwork involved too.”
Judges’ comments: Lucy’s huge potential and total commitment to swimming has been recognised at an elite national level, resulting in her being earmarked as a genuine Olympic prospect for 2016.
COACH OF YEAR (PRIMARY)
sponsored by Blackpool NHS/Change 4 Life
Samantha Rogers: Blackpool-based Samantha has taken responsibility for introducing 7-11s to athletics at Blackpool Wyre and Fylde AC. Sam has introduced an inter-club competition which is growing fast and has attracted many new members.
Nomination (by Derek Newton): Sam’s involvement has been invaluable in encouraging and developing particpation of this age group. Her approach is novel and ground-breaking and the net result is an increased membership at the club and a growing awareness of athletics and the benefits of the sport.
Judges’ comments: Samantha has undertaken the daunting task of attracting the very young to sport and enthusing them to maintain their interest. Samantha has accomplished this admirably and helped her club to grow.
Simon Smith: The football coach from Bispham has produced an outstanding BJFF Under-9s team and helped the club gain FA Charter Standard.Simon is studying for his FA level 3 badge and looks after two young sons, enabling his wife to spend as much time as possible with her terminally ill father
Nomination (by Anita Griggs): Simon eats, sleeps and breathes coaching. His dedication, coaching skills and passion epitomises grassroots football.
Judges’ comments: Simon has furthered his coaching career to the benefit of the BJFF club, while also doing an excellent job of supporting his loved ones at a difficult time.
COACH OF YEAR (SECONDARY)
sponsored by Blackpool NHS/Change 4 Life
Guy Emmett: Guy has coached the boys’ hockey teams at Rossall School to unprecedented success. The Under-13s and Under-14s both contested the national finals as North of England champions, while the under-16s were North West champions and the Under-12s and Under-18s also won prestigious tournaments
Nomination (by Helen Lockley): “Guy Emmett continues to achieve unprecedented success with boys’ hockey at Rossall School. Over the past 12 months, his coaching and inspirational leadership led to many achievements.
Judges’ comments: Guy is a great leader as well as a true supporter for all his pupils, Guy’s efforts have inspired his school teams of all ages to remarkable success.
Patrick Sweeney: Thornton-based Pat has coached judo in Fylde and Wyre for over 25 years. Of the 69-year-old’s 1,000-plus pupils, many have gone on to medal-winning success and to compete at national level.
Nomination (by Paul Wright): Having been a child studying under Pat’s tuition in the 1990s and being one of those to gain a Dan grade status and now coach within the club, I feel he warrants an MBE for his dedication to the young people of our district.
Judges’ comments: Proving that age need be no barrier to communicating with and inspiring young people, Pat brings the best out of all his pupils in the gym and as young citizens within their community.