Video: Introducing the cream of Norfolk’s sporting stars

World Cup rugby player Ben Youngs is the newest winner of the Eastern Daily Press Active Norfolk Sports Personality of the Year award.

The 22-year-old was named at a ceremony to mark the fifth year of the popular awards scheme.

The Leicester Tigers star, who played for England at the World Cup in New Zealand, beat 18-year-old wheelchair basketball player Amy Conroy and Ironman athlete Chrissie Wellington.

Youngs was unable to attend the awards ceremony, but said: 'It's a massive honour to have been recognised for my rugby, and I just wish I could be there in person to show my appreciation.'

Once again the judges were given a huge task as they sifted through nominations which illustrated perfectly the strength in depth of sport in Norfolk.

The awards were presented by Paralympic athlete Danny Nobbs, with BBC journalist Shaun Peel the master of ceremonies.

The Team of the Year award was won by ever-expanding Norwich Canoe Club, who enjoyed their most successful season ever, including victory in the National Marathon Team Championship against 65 other clubs as well as continuing to produce a host of international representatives. Also nominated were Norfolk County Under-18s football team, who won the FA County Youth Cup – for the first time in the county's history – and Thoroughbreds Netball Club, who now compete on the national stage in Premier League One, the only side in East Anglia to feature there this year.

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The inspirational Dyson Pendle completed a double for Norwich Canoe Club when he won the Coach of the Year award, ahead of Alexis Thurston, of the North Walsham Sports Centre Gymnastics Club, and Mark Spooner, teaching professional at Bawburgh Golf Club.

The Young Sports Personality of the Year award was won by 17-year-old shot-put star Sophie McKinna, who created history by winning the silver medal at the World Youth Championships, becoming the first ever British female to win a medal in a global shot put competition. The Bradwell athlete beat off stiff opposition from kayak racer Albert Hicks, from Attleborough, and Will Smith, the Dereham-based wheelchair racer.

Norwich School won the Sports School of the Year Award, with John Grant Special School and Taverham High School also in the final nominations.

Fencing coach John Croxon won the award for Services to Disability Sport, ahead of Iain Dawson and Tyree Robinson.

The Keith Peel Services to Sport award – which is named in memory of the former Eastern Daily Press sports journalist – went to Wymondham's Coral Warren for her work providing support and rehabilitation through sports and exercise to women who have breast cancer. Squash stalwart Bruce Bushell and golfer Carol Delf were also nominated.

Sport in Norfolk spreads to every community and the Sporting Village of the Year award was won by Hethersett, ahead of Great Moulton and Aslacton and Terrington St Clement.

All winners were nominated for the Winner of Winners award – and it was Hethersett who came out on top – just reward for its efforts to make itself the ultimate sports village.


• Sports Personality of the Year

Ben Youngs.

Also nominated: Amy Conroy, Chrissie Wellington.

• Young Sports Personality of the Year

Sophie McKinna

Also nominated: Albert Hicks, Will Smith.

• Team of the year

Norwich Canoe Club.

Also nominated: Norfolk County FA Under-18s, Thoroughbreds.

• Coach of the Year

Dyson Pendle.

Also nominated: Alexis Thurston, Mark Spooner.

• Sports School of the Year

Norwich School.

Also nominated: John Grant Special School, Taverham High School.

• Services to Disability Sport

John Croxon

Also nominated: Iain Dawson, Tyree Robinson.

• Keith Peel Services to Sport

Coral Warren.

Also nominated: Bruce Bushell, Carol Delf.

• Sporting Village of the Year


Also nominated: Great Moulton and Aslacton, Terrington St Clement.

• Winner of Winners