An international athlete was on hand to celebrate the achievements of Bassetlaw’s sporting success stories from the past year, at what has become a prestigious awards ceremony.
The Bassetlaw Sports Awards, held at Elizabethan Academy in Retford, is 19 years old and annually recognises those making a difference in the district’s sporting circles.
John Beattie, a runner who has represented England and Great Britain, was the 2015 guest of honour, and this year’s event also showcased the table tennis skills of Worksop youngster Tom McIntosh.
Tony Wright, one of the organisers from the council’s Sports Development Team, said the quality of this year’s nominees highighted the strength of sporting participation in Bassetlaw.
“Bassetlaw’s Sports Awards continue to thrive and once again over 50 different nominations were received across 13 different categories, which I believe is a fantastic reflection of how healthy a position sport is in our district,” he said.
“The calibre and quality of the nominations was extremely high this year which gave our judges some tough decisions to make.
“I would like to pay tribute to Elizabethan Academy for being great hosts, to John Beattie who was a fantastic special guest and to Tom McIntosh and Steve Johnson for their thoroughly entertaining Table Tennis demonstration.”
Coach of the Year went to Worksop Falcons Badminton Club stalwart Terry Gilham.
The head coach has given 20 years of dedication to the club, and this year they’ve produced an Under 15 doubles champion, and won the Under 17 boys county title for the fifth consecutive season – without losing a single game.
Amelia Chrispin picked up Sportswoman of the Year (Under 14), after a year that saw her ranked eighth in the UK at 1,500m.
She won the 2014 and 2015 Bassetlaw Schools Cross County Championships for Year 5/6, and this year won county silver.
This year also saw her qualify for the National Prep Schools Athletics final.
The Under 14 Sportsman of the Year was local boxer Marcus Ellis, who won a national title at the age of 12.
It is believed this was the first national title in Bassetlaw boxing since Terry Lavin int he 1960s.
Sports Club of the Year is East Retford Rugby Club, who have gone through huge transformation in 2015.
Through the work of Kurt Spencer and Paul and Ellen Barrett, the club has seen over 150 young people playing competitive rugby every week in Retford.
The club run school holiday training camps and organise secondary schools festivals, as well as sending qualified coaches into local schools.
Emma Dakin was crowned Sportswoman of the Year (14 to 18), having won two golds and four silvers at the Notts AAA County Championships.
She represented Notts Schools at The Mason Trophy Inter Counties in June, taking first in the shot put and third in the discus.
Then at the English Schools National Championships at Gateshead in July, she took silver in the shot put.
And from this performance, Dakin was selected to represent England in an international event and once again took silver.
Finally in September, she was selected to compete for the Midlands at The National School Games in Manchester taking gold in the shot put.
The Sportsman of the Year (14 to 18) award went to swimming star Tom Atkinson, who has progressed through Retford Swimming Club and Notts Nova squads, and now trains in Sheffield under the expert eye of an Olympic coach.
This year at The British Summer Championships he won silver in the individual 200m freestyle, and 4 x 100m relay and gold in the 4 x 200m relay.
In his first international call up in May, he earned a bronze in the 200m freestyle at the Standard Energy Cup in Ligano in Italy.
A Retford resident also won the Senior Sports Person of the Year trophy.
In May Jake Taylor was a finalist in the Motor Sports Association UK World Rally Cross Talent Search Shootout, and then finished sixth in his debut senior season in British Rally Cross,
He closed the season with his best performance claiming third place, and has now been selected to attend the Motor Sports Association Academy, studying to be an elite driver at Loughborough College.
The junior and senior volunteer awards went to Liam Marshall and Nigel Dawber respectively.
Marshall voluntarily coaches at Retford Swimming Club, and has worked with his own group of 24 swimmers this year.
His obvious ability led to an opportunity to coach with Nova Centurion County Swim Squads.
Dawber offers a very successful bi-weekly, free, local community jogging and walking group for people who want to get fitter.
The group meet at The Manton Welfare site every Tuesday and Thursday evening in all weathers with activities ranging from a few laps round the grass track to using the canal tracks and road runs around the area.
Dawber gained his UK Athletics Level 3 coaching qualification and is inspiring group members to run 10km and half marathon races.
The award winner also ran The London Marathon and raised money for Prostate Cancer UK just one month after being diagnosed with the same disease himself.
Ordsall Rangers Under 15s won the Junior Community Sports Team of the Year award after a stellar season.
The Open Disability Category winner was Georgia Shearman, who relearned all her gymnastics disciplines after having two 10-inch rods and 16 screws fused to her spine.
Thirteen months following her operation Shearman became the British Disability Gymnastics Junior Champion.
She has recently won five silver medals in The British Gymnastics Disability Championships at senior level.
James Carratt, Josh Charters, Emma Dakin, Oliver Dane, Lucy Harrop, William Hickton, Nathan Langley, Emily-Rose Maule, Lauren Miller, Sophie Mills, Emily Race, Hannah Richardson, Sam Roberts, Amber Scott, Mollie Scott, Morgan Spink and Harry Wright have excelled in the past year at major events.
The final award, the Lifetime Achievement in Sport category, was won by Jackie Barnett.
She has been developing PE and sport in the area for over 30 years, including nine years at The Valley School in Worksop, and six years PE teaching in St Giles Special School.
Barnett also took on the role of school sports co-ordinator in 2002 and within four years was organising mass festivals involving over 250 primary school children.
She umpired and officiated at the High 5 Netball Tournaments and was an umpire for the Bassetlaw Youth Games 7–a-side Netball and for 14 years Barnett has helped run the Bassetlaw Boccia Leagues for primary and secondary school students.
And for the last three years she has been a cycle leader for inclusive cycle rides for people with disabilities and women.
Wright lauded her dedication to local sport saying: “With this vast array of contributions over such a long period of time, there is no doubt Jackie
is truly deserving of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.”