Norfolk Sports Awards 2018: All the winners
The pride of Norfolk sport was rewarded for its efforts and achievements at a glittering sports awards ceremony in Norwich – Taz Ali reports on the winners
Sports Personality of the Year: Robert Lambert
(Sponsored by ReAssure)
Speedway star Robert Lambert is having the season of his young career as captain of the King's Lynn Stars team.
At the age of 20 Lambert regained his British Under 21 title and has recently added the British senior title to his growing list of honours – becoming one of the youngest ever British champions. Perhaps his biggest achievement in 2018 was the silver medal he picked up as part of Team Great Britain in the Speedway of Nations. Robert also rides for teams across Europe, and competed in the Speedway European Championship and the World Under 21s where he currently sits in third place in both standings.
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Lambert looked stunned as he picked up his award night, admitting it had been a tough season.
'I am feeling great, it's incredible to be here,' he said.
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'To receive such a trophy is an honour for me.
'Half the people here probably don't know what speedway is so I'm really pleased I have been part of putting speedway on the map.'
Young Sportsperson of the Year: Lauren Hemp
(Sponsored by City College Norwich)
This footballing star from North Walsham has had an outstanding year in women's football.
She won the FA Young Player of the Year in September 2017, and went on to win the PFA Young Player of the Year this April after a fantastic season playing for Bristol City Women. Her achievements brought her to the attention of Manchester City Women's team, which she signed for in May. On top of that, she was selected to play for the England Under 20s, playing in the Under 20s World Cup in France where she won player of the match twice. In the third game she scored a hat-trick with a goal that was so bizarre it went viral on social media! The Under 20s came away with a bronze medal, in no small part to Lauren's contributions. She said: 'I'm very pleased to have won this award, especially from the county that I come from. 'It means a lot to me, especially being so far away to be recognised down here still. 'There's a lot of people I recognise from when I've been here a couple of years back, it's nice to see some friendly faces, and to see people I still look up to like Darren Eadie, he's a role model of mine.' On that hat-trick, she said: 'I could say I did it on purpose, it was a good way to show women's football off.'
Coach of the Year and Winner of Winners: Tim Scott
(Sponsored by 4Sports and Active Norfolk)
This kayaking coach from Norwich Canoe Club is a dedicated and hardworking coach, whose hard work this year has seen an incredible FIVE young people achieve Team GB selection.
As well as working tirelessly at the club throughout the week, coach Tim actively supports promotion of the club at county-wide events and at school sessions, encouraging new young people to take up the sport. With Tim's support and drive, the club has become a centre of excellence for kayaking nationwide. The club hosted the National Hasler Championships final for marathon canoeing in September which attracted clubs from all over the UK, and is working to secure the hosting for the National Marathon Championships in summer 2019. 'I can't believe it,' he said. 'There were so many incredible people here who were nominated, I don't feel worthy! 'I'm fortunate to be part of a club with so many volunteers and supporters, Norwich Canoe Club are an exceptional club and arguably this year the most successful club in the country. 'I'm very passionate about trying to encourage junior athletes to be the best they can be, not just as sports people but as people. 'I hope they have fun and learn a lot about themselves. 'I want to thank Active Norfolk and everybody at Norwich Canoe Club and Langley Kayaking Academy for their support.'
Services to Disability Sport: Able2b
(Sponsored by Independence Matters)
Orthopaedic surgeon Rachael Hutchinson and former boxer Jon Thaxton teamed up two years ago to set up a specialist therapy for Rachael's patients in the form of fitness boxing.
In the last year the club has seen impressive growth, taking on new facilities in a gym that has been adapted to suit all levels and types of disabilities. They have also started visiting schools to adapt their PE sessions to children, and have included classes for deaf children as well.
The classes are empowering, and have engaged with scores of disabled children and adults in Norfolk with a variety of physical and learning disabilities. Able2b helps people develop their inner as well as their physical strength, and encourage the belief everyone can achieve their potential.
Rachael said: 'I am really pleased, it's the second year running for us and we have put in a lot of hard work and effort. For us it's more than about fitness, it's about changing perception and making society believe they can achieve more than they think. And it's across the board, from 5-70 year-olds who have suffered a stroke.'
BBC Unsung Hero: Ray Drew
(Sponsored by BBC Radio Norfolk)
Ray, now 85 years young, has been involved with the King's Lynn table tennis association for almost half his life.
He STILL plays his sport, and during his time has served in every capacity on the committee, of which he's now vice-chairman.
Ray still supports the league players at the weekly practice sessions, and has also started a weekly morning session for veterans and retirees to come together and practice table tennis, a group which has now grown to over a dozen regular players. Ray was also chairman of the Norfolk Table Tennis Association and represented Norfolk as a national councillor for many years. This unassuming gentleman has been a reliable force in the promotion of all things table tennis for many years, doing so much work behind the scenes to help promote and develop the sport for the players in King's Lynn. After accepting his award, he said: 'It's one of those things you do and don't expect to get things for it. It's just incredible. 'It's something I love, I have been involved since I was 15 years old, 'If it hadn't been for my colleagues for putting me forward I wouldn't be here.'
Active Workplace of the Year: Aviva
(Sponsored by Waitrose)
Aviva's Wellbeing@Aviva programme went from strength to strength last year, with the creation of more onsite facilities including a masseuse room, and monthly speakers to educate and motivate staff around nutrition, exercise, and wellbeing.
The company funds a variety of activities for staff to take part in, including bulk entries to events like Cycle Swarm and the Bungay 10K race. Staff are offered free health checks and free fortnightly healthy snacks. Aviva provides an onsite fitness studio with regular classes, coordinates a couch to 5K programme, as well as running and walking groups that go out regularly. The organisation's approach to employee physical activity has promoted socialisation between colleagues, the significance of exercising safely, and shown the importance of integrating physical activity into the workday to help promote the work/life balance. Speaking on behalf of Aviva, Vikki Harper said: 'This is our third year and we are absolutely overwhelmed. 'We have got a huge army of health heroes who want people active at work, we are very passionate about that. 'It's evident in our running groups, it's helping with their mental wellbeing as well.'
The Power of Physical Activity Award: David Thomas
(Sponsored by Sentinel Leisure Trust)
Over the past year Dave has faced adversity in different forms, each time using the power of physical activity to overcome his personal challenges.
In 2017 he joined the Norwich Road Runners following the end of a personal relationship. Dave has battled significant bouts of chronic depression, which he has worked to manage through physical activity. Now as the Mental Health Champion for his club, Dave actively tries to support others with knowledge gained through his own experiences. This July, Dave suffered a stroke mid-run at Catton Park. Thanks to the quick response of volunteers he is now on the road to recovery, and is keen to keep involved in running to help his recovery. Dave continues to run, volunteer and support Norwich Road Runners, and with gradual training he intends to enter – and win – the 5K fun run in Buxton this December. 'It's been a rough 15 months but I have enjoyed giving back and it's motivated me to be mental health champion for my running club,' he said.
Community Club of the Year: Norwich Spikers Volleyball Club
(Sponsored by Community Action Norfolk)
This friendly and inclusive club prides itself on giving opportunities for members to play and develop, no matter what their experience, age, ability, or background.
This has resulted in a huge boom in numbers in the last year: the club's junior capacity has tripled, adult numbers have expanded each week, and its NVL teams have been hugely successful, with teams currently playing in Divisions Two and Three. To add to this, the club has supported 'This Girl Can' initiatives, which encourage women into the sport, and has lead sports sessions hosted by local charity English Plus, which works to help refugees and asylum seekers across Norwich to improve their skills and develop communities. Chairman Emily Keel said: 'We are so proud of our club, it's so important to be recognised against all the high profile sports. 'Our club members are the ones that make it and our drive to be better. 'This is going to help us continue on the upward trend.'
Sports Team of the Year: Norfolk FA Under-18s Representative Squad
(Sponsored by Easton & Otley College)
Norfolk County FA's Under 18 Representative squad made history during the 2017/18 season when they won the prestigious national FA County Youth Cup competition, proving they were the best county side in the country.
The achievement was made even more remarkable because the squad no longer has league provision to participate in, so the only fixtures the players played in last year was this national competition. The group of 16 young men had never met before they entered trials to make up the squad.
The group quickly bonded and became a powerhouse of footballing skill, which saw them fending off fierce competition from the county teams from Jersey, the Isle of Man, Northumberland, Gloucestershire, and Staffordshire to become national champions. Manager Adam Gusterson said: 'It's an amazing award for us to win, it's a real testament to the lads.
'I am just delighted for them. 'The award recognises the achievements they have done. The national achievement was one hell of an achievement, we are just happy to be named winners.'
The Active Futures Award: Little Owls Nursery
(Sponsored by Premier Sport)
Staff at Little Owls Nursery in Dereham work to positively promote physical ability in the early years.
They have introduced 'Outdoors & Active' family packs for the community, aimed at increasing awareness and understanding into the physical, everyday, fun experiences of movement and physicality for the under-5s.
Little Owls inspires children and parents to take up physical activity with a range of opportunities such as Active Story café sessions, Cosmic Yoga, and themed baby play sessions to engage differently abled families. They work to increase knowledge of the impact of physical activity in the under 5s with all staff, contributing to research, and identifying future projects with other professional partners.
Tiffany Neath and Kayleigh Gibbard, from the nursery, said: 'We are ecstatic and very honoured to have won. We are just really grateful to make the difference to the next generation's physical and mental wellbeing. We are committed to making it part of their holistic learning and we are thankful for the dedication of all the staff and families.'
Activity in the Community Award: Pace of Mind
(Sponsored by Sportspark)
This running group supports people living with mild to moderate mental health conditions in the Lakenham and Tuckswood areas of Norwich.
Building on the fact physical activity improves conditions like depression and anxiety, Pace of Mind provided a safe space for participants to come together and train for the Run Norwich 10K. They were supported by 20 volunteers, who run to manage their own mental health. The runners also got access to mental health support, massage, physios, and nutrition advice, to help them train both mind and body for the run. The group developed into a supportive network of friends, which has continued to improve their wellbeing, and they're continuing to run with each other.
Coach Dudley Garner said: 'I am blown away, it's an amazing group to be a part of. It's recognition of the hard work they have put in, the way they have grouped together has been phenomenal.'
Partnership manager Ruth Taylor added: 'It's recognition of all the people who experience invisible mental health problems who get up in the morning to run. I'd like to thank all of our partners, coaches, Active Norfolk and the incredible volunteers who kept it all running.'