Local sport stars and volunteers have been rewarded at a glamorous awards ceremony at Bishop Auckland’s Town Hall.
Sixty sport stars and volunteers were nominated in thirteen categories for the Durham Dales heat of the awards which recognise exceptional work in local clubs and communities, and were judged by an independent selection panel.
Award winners from Friday evening will now go forward to a county-wide awards dinner in October.
Bishop Barrington School picked up the award for Secondary School Contribution to PE and School Sport. “I’m absolutely over the moon. I think the whole department, the community staff, the clubs that we run at the school – everyone works really hard,” explained Martin from Bishop Barrington.
“We continue to strive to be outstanding. We continue to drive forward for our pupils”.
Gymnast coach Katie Dunn collected the award for Young Coach of the Year. Having quickly taken up the strain of a busy new club, Katie is very well respected in her main role of leading the elite side of the club’s development.
“It feels brilliant,” explained Katie on winning the award. When asked about the most rewarding part of the job, Katie told Bishop FM “It’s when the kids succeed. Seeing them happy, seeing them pleased with how they’re doing, it’s just brilliant.”
In the Sport Club of the Year category Bishop Auckland Rugby Club collected the prize having captured family and community ethos. The club has recently added ladies and girls sessions to a comprehensive mens programme.
“I think it’s a recognition from the community for the amount of work we’re doing in the community,” said Paul Musgrave from the club. “We’ve now grown – we now have over 250 children involved from age four up to seventeen. That’s then feeding through to the adults teams as well.”
The awards aim to “recognise and reward those individuals at a grass roots level and a higher level for the performances, effort and work they put in,” according to Sandy Mitchell, Development Manager at County Durham Sport. “It has been an absolutely fantastic year for sport. We really hope to be able to build on the back of what has been a brilliant year, to be able to help build the profile of sport in County Durham.”
The event has been organised over the summer by the sport development team at Durham County Council. “We as sport development teams try and help grass roots sports right at the bottom with the volunteers and the way the club works. We support them and give them pathways right up to the top,” explained Marie Urwin, organiser of the award events.