County’s sporting stars celeberated at awards night

Sports Awards: Kettering: Northamptonshire Sports Awards 2012'Winners of the Local Sportsman and Local Sportswoman of the Year awards Simon Barclay and Charley Hull'Thursday 8th November 2012
Sports Awards: Kettering: Northamptonshire Sports Awards 2012'Winners of the Local Sportsman and Local Sportswoman of the Year awards Simon Barclay and Charley Hull'Thursday 8th November 2012

Sporting stars from across the county were honoured at the Northamptonshire Sports Awards last night, Thursday.

Awards were handed out in a wide variety of categories, ranging from volunteer of the year, to coach of the year, to sports school of the year.

The glamorous event, at the Kettering Conference Centre, was hosted by BBC Radio 5 Live host Mike Sewell and videos of the summer of sport and the success of the London 2012 Gamesmakers were broadcast to the crowd.

One successful entrant was Corby boxer Simon Barclay who was winner of Northamptonshire Sportsman of the year.

Barclay has enjoyed a fantastic year and he is England Amateur Boxing Champion and is the current GB Champion at 91kg.

The fighter from Corby Amateur Boxing Club has just found out he has earned a place in the GB squad and said that winning this award was “brilliant.”

He said:” (It’s) Topped off a really good year it’s been brilliant, I’ve not lost a fight all year which has been great.

“I’m looking to break into the major tournaments across the world now. The Commonwealth Games are my next step after that.”

Park Junior School, in Wellingborough, reigned victorious as Sport School of the Year.

The school was awarded for making huge improvements to its levels of participation and achievement within PE and for having a comprehensive programme of school competition -both within the school and against other schools.

Their school sports day raised over £2000 and 180 of its pupils attend local community clubs and provided 4 teams for the partnership at the Level 3 School Games event in July.

Headteacher Mr Thebbutt said that sport has played a big part in bringing all the children together at the school.

He said:” We wasn’t expecting it.

“We have been using sport to raise standards throughout the school and a lot of time and effort has gone into achieving this, and many hours have been put into this by the staff,

“ We have 20 different ethnicities represented in our school and we are using sport as a way of bringing everyone together.”

There was also an award for young golfer Charley Hull, who won Local Sportswoman of the year.

The 16-year-old has continued her progress in golf and started 2012 by winning the Harder Hall Invitational.

She was selected to play in the GB and I Curtis Cup team and also played in her first Major, the Nabisco Championship.

Charley, who is from Burton Latimer, made headlines in September when she was high on the leader board at the Ladies British Open and is currently ranked 8th best amateur golfer in the world.

She said that she has had a “great” year and was really happy to win the award.

Charley is hoping to have another successful year in 2013 as she is going to “qualifying school” to become a Professional golfer.

Two of our county Olympians also received special awards at the ceremony.

Anne Panter, who was born in Kettering, was honoured as the county’s Olympian of the year.

The 28-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic 12 months, playing a starring role in the Team GB hockey squad which played their way to bronze at the London Olympics.

She said:” I think it’s nice for the awards from the grass roots awarding everything from volunteers, community groups, to the young sportsmen and women of the year.

“ It’s great to see talented people coming through and hopefully they’ll be more medal winners for the county.”

She was the only medal winner from the county in this year’s Olympics and the star, who was brought up in Irthlingborough, added that it would be great to see these sports stars carrying on their achievements in the future to show that the Olympics has truly “inspired a generation” and hopefully they’ll be more medal winners from Northamptonshire in Rio in 2016.

Paralympic GB’s Goalball player Niall Graham also received a Special Paralympic Award.

The award topped of a fantastic year for the Corby lad who represented Team GB in the 2012 Paralympics.

The 6 ft 6 in giant was even an Olympic torchbearer through his home town on July 2 this year.

Volunteer of the year was awarded to Kevin Bird from Wellingborough.

Mr Bird is a club chair, secretary, league coordinator, and a coach to a number of the club’s squad and talented players at Westfield Table Tennis Club, as well as being one of the club’s match day caterers.

He also helps the county and regional associations with both administration and coaching.

There was also a honour for Jo Redman from Rushden, who was awarded the Disabled Sports Achiever of the year.

She has Asperger Syndrome and kickboxing gives her an outlet and a place she feels she belongs.

She won a bronze medal in her first World Championships in 2009 and in 2011 won gold, then going on to win the WKC National Championships.

Kettering Volleyball club also rounded off a fantastic year by picking up two runner-up awards.

The club itself was runner-up in Community Club of the Year of the year and member of the club Jessica Burke-Martin was runner in the Young Leader of the Year category.

Kettering Volleyball club were voted the town’s Community Club of the Year a matter of months ago.

The club’s head coach Alex Hajigeorgieva said:” It’s a really good to have been nominated.

“ We were hoping to win but we are only a new club but we will grow and hopefully next year we’ll do better!”

Dick Caplis, a Kettering Sports Awards Winner, was also runner-up in the Lifetime Contribution to Sport award.

Mr Caplis has coached and competed in athletics for over 50 years and has coached many athletes to a national standard.

He coaches three times a week for the Kettering Town Harriers and is affectionately known as “Colonel Caplis.”

Mr Caplis said he is delighted to win the award and it was nice to get the recognition for his work in the community.

He also added that he gets as much of a kick out of coaching an athlete to success as he did as an athlete himself.

The winners of the Northamptonshire Awards, when there are corresponding categories, will be forwarded to the panel of the BBC East Sports Awards 2012.