Hard work and heroics applauded at Blackpool Community Sports Awards

Paralympian Shelly Woods with double award winner Erin Green
Paralympian Shelly Woods with double award winner Erin Green
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The borough’s outstanding sportsmen and women were celebrated at the 2019 Blackpool Community Sports Awards.

The Blackpool Council awards event was staged at the Winter Gardens.

The Wilkinson Sword recognising outstanding achievements and progress by an individual elite athlete on the Fylde coast went to Lucie March for her achievements in martial arts.

Lucie is a national and international competitor and has been a member of the England squad for seven years.

Lucie is a former world champion who has won European medals and over 20 national titles. She received her iconic award from Blackpool boxer and former British champion Brian Rose, a former winner of the sword himself.

The Quayle Trophy and Quayle Shield recognise outstanding rising stars and young achievers.

The Quayle Trophy was presented to Erin Green for her outstanding swimming success in the Special Olympics.

Erin won silver at the World Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi and gold at the National Special Olympics in Sheffield.

Erin went on to complete a dream double at the awards evening by winning the Disability Sport Award.

Paige Wilding-Merry won the Quayle Shield following a great year of karate, in which she scooped 16 medals ranging from gold to bronze at national events.

Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Lynda Inglis, Joan Barnes and Ivor Cooke.

Lynda helped to form the Blackpool Polar Bears over 20 years ago to provide aquatics opportunities for people with a range of abilities.

Lynda organises galas, outings and other activities for the swimmers and their families. She has also helped club members to realise their potential at local level through to the Special Olympics.

Joan was instrumental in the creation of Newton Hall ASC and was prominent in the development of modern pentathlon, biathlon and triathlon at the club.

Ivor Cooke has been coaching with the Blackpool Aquatics Triathlon Squad (BATS) since 2011 and continues to participate as a GB triathlete.

The Coach of the Year award went to Gabrielle Towell for her contribution to netball, balancing grassroots work with her role at Manchester Thunder.

In the Volunteer of the Year categories, the adult award went to Martin Ireland for his tireless work developing table tennis in Blackpool and promoting the sport among young and old alike.

Martin has been an integral member of the team driving the National PING programme to take the sport out into the community.

The junior Volunteer Award was won by Megan Hunter for her coaching work with Blackpool FC Ladies and Girls.

Megan has delivering weekly coaching sessions to two new under-10 teams and finds team to play in goal for the ladies.

The talented young footballers from Park Community Academy were crowned Team of the Year after an amazing season in the Lancashire FA Ability County League.

The Park Under-12 and Under-14 teams won their competitions, while the Under-16 girls were runners-up and the Under-16 boys placed third.

Park Community Academy did the double by also winning the Secondary School Award.

The school on Whitegate Drive was rated outstanding by OFSTED, also gaining a Platinum School Games Award and a Distinction AfPE quality mark, highlighting Park’s dedication to school sport.

Holy Family won the Primary School Award after victories in Quadkids Athletics, Tri-GOLF, indoor athletics and cross country.

Holy Family also claimed the School Games Platinum Award for its overall approach to sport and physical activity.

Blackpool FC Ladies and Girls were Club of the Year. The club, staffed entirely by volunteers, enjoyed success in regional competitions and there was a cup triumph for the Under-16s.

Coun Maria Kirkland, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, said of the evening’s celebrations: “The dedication and enthusiasm shown by so many sportsmen and sportswomen across Blackpool and The Fylde is so inspiring.

“It is wonderful to hear about and see the fantastic results that individuals and teams are achieving in their chosen sports. There were so many worthy contenders nominated for this year’s awards and I congratulate them all.”