Celebrating the best of Norfolk's active communities
PUBLISHED: 16:24 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:24 22 November 2019
Norfolk's sporting great and good were recognised this week at the Active Norfolk Awards 2019 - a celebration of physical activity across the county.
Hundreds gathered at Open in Norwich on Thursday, November 21 to celebrate the sporting excellence and physical activity achievements of our county at the Active Norfolk Awards.
ITV Anglia presenter Becky Jago played host to the crowds who came to cheer on and support the finalists in 11 sport and physical activity categories, in what was a truly inspiring night.
The evening kicked off with an upbeat performance by the all-male youth dance group, Legacy Dance Company, which sees 10-21 year olds from across Norfolk and Suffolk perform in different styles of dance and theatre.
Three shortlisted finalists for each category and their supporters, plus VIP guests from organisations across the county, came together to celebrate their achievements and see who would be crowned winner.
Paralympic swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate, Canaries star Todd Cantwell, and Great Yarmouth shot putter Sophie McKinna were up for the prestigious Sportsperson of The Year Award, with Sophie McKinna taking home the trophy following an impressive string of title wins and an Olympic-qualifying throw at the World Athletics Championships Finals in Doha - all done while holding down two jobs.
"It feels absolutely amazing - I didn't expect to be chosen from all these amazing nominees," said Sophie. "It's a great honour and it's been a lovely evening celebrating all these sporting achievements. I'd like to thank all my family and all the people who've supported me through all the ups and downs along the way."
Other categories celebrated the volunteers, coaches, and clubs that make up the fabric of grassroots sport across our county.
Some of the evening's most inspiring moments came from the physical activity categories, Active Inspiration and Activity in the Community, which recognise the contribution that physical activity makes in improving the health and well-being of people and communities.
IQ for Health, a Norwich-based tai chi and Qigong group, took home the coveted Activity in the Community award for its pioneering work in bringing physical activity to people suffering from serious health conditions. Runner Rebecca Wicks won the Active Inspiration award, after she took on hundreds of running challenges to improve her fitness and has inspired her family, friends and colleagues to take up running along the way.
"All the finalists were great so I'm completely overwhelmed to have won the Active Inspiration Award," said Rebecca. "I couldn't have done it without all the support I've had from my friends, aunties, nieces, and all the rest of my family. I just think that if I can do it, anyone can!"
Active Norfolk director Ben Jones said: "We continue to be inspired and motivated to do more by the incredible stories of perseverance, dedication, commitment and passion that come to light through the Active Norfolk Awards. This year's finalists all beat off stiff competition to earn their place in the shortlist following a record-breaking year with 400 nominations, and we congratulate all of the winners and nominees on their incredible and diverse achievements."
View more images from the night at www.activenorfolk.org/ana-2019
Active Workplace of the Year
Sponsored by Active Workplaces
Winner: Naked Wines
Runners up: Flagship Group and YMCA
Sponsored by BBC Radio Norfolk
Winner: Denise Oates
Runners up: Christopher Forster and Matt Pyatt
The Active Inspiration Award
Sponsored by Sentinel Leisure Trust
Winner: Rebecca Wicks
Runners up: Bashir Jabbarkhail and Joyce Irvine
Activity in the Community Award
Sponsored by PROGRESS
Winner: IQ for Health
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Runners up: AgeUK Norwich Community Outreach Service and uea+sport Navigate Norfolk Programme
Youth Impact Award
Sponsored by Active Futures
Winner: MAP Community Youth Work team
Runners up: Able2b and Omnes Games
Sports Team of the Year
Sponsored by Easton & Otley College
Winner: Swardeston Cricket Club
Runners up: Norfolk Sportshall Athletics U13 Girls and UEAFC
Coach of the Year
Sponsored by 4sports
Winner: Paul Neary
Runners up: John Allitt and Matt Pyatt
Achievement in Disability Sport
Sponsored by Independence Matters
Winner: Ruby Bishop
Runners up: Derek Perry and Rachael Hutchinson
Community Club of the Year
Sponsored by GY Sport & Leisure Trust
Winner: Wymondham Town United Football Club
Runners up: Norfolk Iceni Basketball Club and Thetford Town Cricket Club
Young Sportsperson of the Year
Sponsored by City College Norwich
Winner: Niamh Southgate
Runners up: Calvin Smith and Grace Anderson
Sportsperson of the Year
Sponsored by Sportspark
Winner: Sophie McKinna
Runners up: Jessica Jane Applegate and Todd Cantwell