THERE was plenty to celebrate when Stratford Athletic Club’s annual awards night doubled up as the club’s 40th anniversary party.
Around 300 people were present at Stratford High School where Paul Bearman opened proceedings by inviting the audience to celebrate another hugely successful year before introducing special guests.
They included Barbara Wood, wife of the club’s founding father Allen Wood, and Gwil Price MBE, the driving force behind schools athletics in Warwickshire.
Becky Freeman, president of Warwickshire County Athletics, was also present, as was club president John Dell who flew in from Menorca especially to join two of his long-term helpers from the early days of the club, Graham and Gary Collins.
Awards were presented by Tony Jackson in his capacity as both club secretary and Deputy Mayor.
Bearman reported the club was started by Allen Wood in 1979, based at the old high school, before it found a permanent home at the Home Guard club in Tiddington.
Starting with a grass track, funds were then raised for a tarmac track which is still used by the club’s triathletes and a project was then started to construct the current all-weather track at Stratford High School.
This was funded with support from the Town Trust, the Stratford District Council and the club’s own fund-raising.
Subsequently a pavilion was built on this site, supported again by the Town Trust, and another significant move was when the seniors moved their headquarters to Stratford Sports Club – a far better town centre location.
This successful club now has a membership of some 600 across junior, senior and triathlon club sections, with athletes ranging in age from eight to 78.
A presentation was made to club chairman Paul Hawkins in recognition of his 20 years’ service and the raffle raised £400 for breast and prostate cancer charities.
Awards presented on the night included (Juniors – Female/Male):
Club Person of the Year – George Fox-Rowe
Star of Tomorrow – Poppy Fox-Rowe/Freddie Clemons and Alex Adams (joint)
All-Round Athlete – Lucy Lane and Freddie Clemons
Junior Cross Country – Georgie Campbell and Alex Adams
Athlete of the Year – Georgie Campbell and Freddie Clemons
Junior Triathletes of the year: Performance TS1/TS2 – Martha Bullock
Junior Triathlete/TS3/Youth of the Year – Charley Marshall
Seniors and Juniors:
Hall of Fame – Andrew Reeves
Outstanding Achievement – Lewis Byng
Athlete of the Year – Emma Bexson and Matt Burdus-Cook
Cross-country Runner of the Year – Emily Adams and Josh Newman
Grand Prix Shield – Beverley Brigden and Peter Sugden
Most Improved – Sarah Vernon and Ryan Bakewell
Track and Field Athlete of the Year – Paula Williams and Peter Coote
Triathlete of the Year – Emma Bexson and Rich Shepherd
Triathlon Grand Prix – Caroline Gionis and James Purdy
Personality of the Year – Sally and Gavin Bliss
Shakespeare Shield – Emma Bexson and Josh Newman