Athletes and volunteers honoured at the Stockport Sports Awards

Stockport’s elite athletes, clubs and volunteers were recognised for their hard work and dedication at Sport Stockport’s annual Sports Awards at Houldsworth Golf Club.

Winners of the nine awards were announced on the evening by TalkSport’s Dominic McGuinness and presented by special guests at the dinner attended by athletes, their families, supporters and members of Sport Stockport, Life Leisure and Stockport Council.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation for up-and-coming swimming star Lizzie Harris from Stockport Metro, who was named the Fred Perry Sports Personality of the Year.

Over the past 12 months Lizzie has won five British National titles and also travelled to Casablanca for the World School Games where she won two titles.

A diverse range of sports were represented from football and swimming to hockey, softball, weightlifting, martial arts, and volleyball.

Becky Bellis was named Young Achiever of the Year. Becky is currently on the England and Great Britain pathway for basketball and is one of the final 16 who were selected for the GB under-16 team.

Becky, who is a student at Stockport School, said: “I’m really proud to receive this award and proud to be representing the sport of basketball in Stockport.”

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International rhythmic gymnast Sophie Forsyth was named Disabled Athlete of the Year after finishing seventh in the British Championships.

Outstanding volunteers were also rewarded during the evening, with Richard Gregg, Chairman of the Stockport Metro Junior League, being named Volunteer of the Year.

Richard has dedicated his time since the football league began in 1981 spending many hours organising fixtures, negotiating venue hire, and putting together competitions and trips abroad. When he is not organising the football leagues he is also the Cyber Officer and Welfare Officer for the league.

He said: “It’s a great privilege to win this award, especially after this category was such a tough field with some fantastic achievements.  I’d like to say a special thank you to those who nominated me and I am delighted to receive it.”

The Changing Lifestyle Recognition award sponsored by Stockport Council was awarded to Laura Howell, who has changed her life by becoming more active and before joining her local gym.

Club of the Year was awarded to Stockport Metro Swimming Club, who have over 350 swimmers and finished second at the British Nationals.

Football referee Rod Pimlott was honoured with the 2018 Sir Stanley Matthews Unsung Hero Award, while Coach of the Year was awarded to Ian Travis, who has been coaching at Stockport Basketball Club for 15 years.

Rod originally started as a junior team manager 36 years ago and then moved into refereeing.

For decades he has donated all of his referee fees to a local children’s hospice and in total has raised over £50,000 through a combination of his fees, organising raffles and collections at tournaments.

Towards the end of his career he took a number of new recruits under his wing helping them with their referee careers.

Ian accompanies teams up and down the country for weekly matches, investing huge amounts of his spare time to ensure his team’s success. Not only does he organise the fixtures, venues and licences, Ian also coaches up to four times a week in the season.

This year’s School Commitment to PE and Sport Award, which demonstrates how physical education and sport can have a positive impact on the whole school, was awarded to Nevill Road Junior School.

John Hargreaves, Chairman of Sport Stockport, said: “It is important that local athletes are recognised for their fantastic achievements in sport and the annual sports dinner is an ideal event to do this.

“With the help of Life Leisure and the local media it is envisaged the event will continue to go from strength to strength over the next few years enabling us to continue to encourage both a grassroots and world-class mentality to sport in Stockport.

“We would like to say a special word of thanks to our sponsors and all at Houldsworth Golf Club for a fantastic evening.”

Winners of the Stockport Sports Awards will be put forward to represent Stockport at the Greater Manchester Sports Awards at Emirates Old Trafford on November 16.