THE STRATFORD District Community Sports Awards, organised by Stratford District Council in partnership with Everyone Active, was an occasion full of enjoyment as the area’s sporting stars were honoured.
Last Friday’s ceremony at Stratford Play House celebrated the achievements of clubs and individuals across the district and recognised the valuable contributions made by volunteers, parents and coaches. The event was hosted by athletics star Iwan Thomas MBE.
Tom Abbott of Stratford Cycling Club won the Coach or PE Teacher Award for his efforts working with four groups of juniors, as he is an inspiration to everyone at the club.
The Junior Sports Person Award was presented to shot-putter Lewis Byng of Stratford Athletic Club. Byng became the first UK athlete to reach a European U20 throws final since 1989 when he represented Great Britain at the European Championships in Sweden.
The Junior Para-sports Person Award was won by Sophie Evans-Lee (Riding for the Disabled & Gemini Dance Studio). She became Miss Freestyle 2019 in her category and two weeks later at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool she won the British Championships.
Evans-Lee won the Countryside Challenge at regional level and finished 12th at the National Championships.
The Unsung Hero Award was won by Jemma Moore for her huge contribution to netball in the district. She coaches and umpires for her club – Shooters Netball Club – and set up a summer league in Shipston last year.
The Senior Team Award winners were Stratford Cricket Club whose dramatic victory in the Sunday Smash 100-ball competition at Edgbaston was the highlight of the club’s year and its first silverware since 2003.
Ryan Alexander, a student at Southam College, won the Everyone Active ‘Positive Change’ Award, recognising the sterling work he does as a coach and official across a number of sports.
He has also been involved in fund-raising for charity and also finds time to be a successful sportsman, most notably in rugby league and karate.
The Senior Sports Person Award was won by Maria Giordmaina following her stellar year of bodybuilding success at international level. She became the UKDFBA Masters Fitness champion and went on to win the WNBF World Championship title in New York.
Kathryn Burnett (Stratford Riding for the Disabled Association) won the Senior Para-sports Person Award following a great year of performances. After finishing first at the West Mercia RDA Regional Qualifiers, Burnett achieved second place at the National Championships.
The Getting Stratford Active Award went to Stratford parkruns whose weekly Saturday and Sunday (junior) events attract runners and walkers to the Recreation Ground to enjoy exercise in an inclusive, encouraging and sociable environment. The two core teams of volunteers have worked hard to ensure everyone feels welcome to take part.
The outstanding results of Stratford Athletic Club’s under 15 track and field team at the Warwickshire Championships meant they were presented with the Junior Team of the Year Award in what was a very competitive category.
The contributions of the under 15s athletes were the key factor behind the overall club wining the Warwick Vase for the fourth consecutive year.
The Community Club Award was shared by Stratford Town FC and Kineton Sports & Social Club.
Stratford Town FC’s facilities play host to a large spectrum of activities and events within the community and its academy provides a pathway for 16 to 18-year-olds to receive coaching from UEFA-licensed professionals, play in a national league and move up the ranks to the first team squad.
Kineton Sports & Social Club is at the heart of the village and operates a number of outdoor sports and many indoor activities. The club also acts as the hub for a number of cyclists and as a community club it holds many events designed to bring people together.
The prestigious Outstanding Contribution Award went to David Taylor for his commitment to Alcester Town Football Club over a number of years.
Taylor has been chairman of the club for the past six years and has overseen the first team’s rise from Division Three of the Stratford Alliance to Division Two of the Midland Football League during his tenure.
He is among other things the team kit and laundry man for the adult sides as well as the facilities manager for the Stratford Road ground and the pitch at Oversley Green.