Meet the Hunts Post sporting heroes of 2015
- Credit: Archant
Not many people can say that they have completed over 180 marathons and 200 half marathons.
Nor will they have continued to play the sport they love a mere few days after having their leg amputated.
Or organised championships for over a decade for pupils throughout Cambridgeshire.
These were just a few of the achievements that were displayed by those successful at the Hunts Post Sports Awards 2015.
The winners were announced at a glittering evening ceremony in front of around 200 invited guests at the Burgess Hall, St Ives last Friday . . .
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Runner Tony Cotton (pictured far left) has been a long standing member of the BRJ Run and Tri Club. At the age of 77 he has been a real source of inspiration and encourages members both old and young to achieve great things. Tony only took up running when he was 47 after deciding to swap his bike for a pair of running trainers. He said: “I used to ride my bike up and down the A1 then I just thought I would take up running as I first did it at school.” Tony has now completed over 180 marathons and 200 half marathons - his next one is the London Marathon in 2016.
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Sponsor: One Leisure Huntingdon.
Finalists: Keith Gabb, Sue Gow and David Peak.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT (Over 18)
Olympic gymnast Louis Smith is a member of the Huntingdon Gymnastics Club under the guidance of head coach Paul Hall. The pommel horse star won individual bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics before taking a break from the sport. But he has returned with a bang in the past year to collect a Commonwealth Games bronze medal before winning the British and European titles. Smith could not be present on Friday night when his award was collected by Huntingdon Gymnastics Club coach Adam Scott, but he tweeted his delight, saying: “I’m very happy to have won Outstanding Achievement award at the Hunts Post Sports Awards. Thank you for your ongoing support. Roll on Rio!” Peterborough-based Smith has trained at Huntingdon Gymnastics Club throughout his career and is a huge inspiration to their junior gymnasts.
Sponsor: Burgess Hall.
Finalists: Tommy Martin, Gerard Baker and Tony Cotton.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT (UNDER 18)
Owen Brownston is an outstanding middle distance and cross country runner who has had a hugely successful year. After just turning 11 Owen was picked to represent Cambridgeshire’s cross country team at Under 13 level. Owen followed this success up with an outstanding win at his school event and in district cross country. However Owen is modest about his success, he said: “We had the school cross country and I did really well and my teacher just told me I should start running.” Brownston has also had a super year on the track where he was recently crowned the National Prep Schools’ 1500m champion after also breezing to success at county level.
Sponsor: Apple Home Improvements.
Finalists: Edward Hick, Holly Hoy, Owen King, Diana and Amy Chalmers and Shona Whitwell.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT (DISABILITY)
After being born with a condition called Fibular Hemimelia – a disease that means that he had no fibula in his right leg – golfer Mike Gays took the courageous decision last October to have the leg amputated. The 26-year-old said: “I had my leg amputated on the Monday and I was back on the golf course by the end of the weekend.” A member of the Brampton Park Golf Club, Mike made his debut on the European Disabled Golf Association Tour at the French Open earlier this year. “I just decided that I had to do it,” he added” The inspiring golfer finished joint seventh in the competition. Mike has been a true spokesman for those with a disability to get them back into sport. He continued: “There are so many options out there nowadays for people to try – there is something they can do no matter what their disability.”
Sponsor: Whiting and Partners.
Finalists: Hinchingbrooke School - Boccia Team and Lauren Steadman.
TEAM OF THE YEAR (SENIOR)
Midlands Division Four East (South) champions St Neots Rugby Club took the title with a perfect record of 18 bonus point wins from 18 fixtures. They were one of only two sides in the country to achieve such a feat. The perfect season saw the club score 882 points and concede just 198 overall – and they managed to score a century of points on three separate occasions along the way. Head coach Ian Sheppard said: “To be the best team in the country was amazing.
It has taken us two or three years to get to where we
The team will play at Division Three level next season and hope to reach the Midlands Two by 2017. “It is going to take us a while but we will push on,” added Sheppard.
Finalists: St Ives Roosters ARLFC and Hunts Athletics Club.
TEAM OF THE YEAR (JUNIOR)
Throughout the year, St Ives Swimming Club junior section has gained new members from non-swimmers to potential athletes with great success. Throughout various competitions youngsters including Ollie Fitt, Lucas Dove and James Quinn have taken two golds, 20 silvers and two bronze medals.
Sponsor: Copleys Solicitors
Finalists: Priory Junior School Gymnastics, Eynesbury Rovers FC, Huntingdon Stags Under 12s and Alconbury Colts FC U12 Whites.
Sibling rivalry hasn’t affected sisters Diana and Amy Chalmers who have ruled the female 16-19 years European Sprint Duathlon Championship scene in the past two years. Older sister Diana struck gold at the event in 2014 in Holland and added a bronze medal to her collection this year in Madrid when it was the turn of younger sibling Amy to win gold with a stunning debut display. The St Ivo School pupils are already looking forward to the 2016 event in Germany.
Sponsor: Hunts Post.
Finalists: Danny King and Mike Gays.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Described as an amazing coach, St Ivo School PE teacher Lisa Trigg has shown drive and determination to help the teams at the school achieve fantastic results. This year alone she has coached the Under 13 girls cricket team to third place in the national indoor finals at Lord’s and has given up a huge amount of her time to help raise the £25,000 required to take the school’s under 13 girls football team to the Gothia Youth World Cup in Sweden. She said: “We offer a wide range of sports at the St Ivo School which everyone can get involved with which is why we do so well. I just like seeing them happy at the end of their matches which makes me happy.”
Sponsor: Dews Coaches.
Finalists: Andy Hunter, Roger Bates and Colin Deans.
SCHOOL OF THE YEAR
Sport is at the heart of the Priory Junior School in St Neots which has become the only school in the county to be awarded a Gold Kitemark for three successive years. All 260 pupils at the school love taking part in sport and have entered more competitions this year than ever before.
Sponsor: Super Sport.
Finalists: Kimboloton School, St Ivo School, Hinchingbrooke School and Buckden Primary.
For more than 16 years, Linda Wager (pictured second right) has organised the Cambridgeshire Primary Schools Cross-Country Relay Championships. Her work includes making hundreds of phone calls and emails, selling sponsorship and even race commentary. She said: “I love doing it because when they get to the finish line you see that they have achieved something.”
Sponsor: Jolique Facial Rejuvenation Clinic.
Finalists: Suzie Hall, Wendy Chambers, Robert Bradshaw, Phil Brown.