Stockport’s sports stars honoured at annual awards

Ben Higham receives the Fred Perry Sports Personality of the Year award from Councillor Walter Brett
Ben Higham receives the Fred Perry Sports Personality of the Year award from Councillor Walter Brett

Stockport’s elite athletes, clubs and volunteers were rewarded for their hard work and dedication at Sport Stockport’s annual sports awards at Houldsworth Golf Club in Reddish.

Winners of the nine awards were announced on the evening at a glittering dinner attended by athletes, their families, supporters and members of Sport Stockport, Life Leisure and Stockport Council.

Guests were treated to a question-and-answer session with GB Olympic taekwondo athlete Mahama Cho, who came fourth in the Rio Olympics and won a silver medal in the world championships.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation for cycle speedway star Ben Higham, who received the Fred Perry Sports Personality of the Year award presented by the Deputy Mayor of Stockport, Councillor Walter Brett.

Sport Stockport’s annual sports awards winners
Sport Stockport’s annual sports awards winners

Ben is captain of Stockport Cycle Speedway Club and his performances haven’t gone unnoticed by the national selectors as he was part of the England team who won the British Championship in October 2016.

He is also part of the GB squad travelling to Australia to compete in the upcoming Ashes series.

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

Swimming star Harrison Coulter scooped the Young Achiever of the Year award.

Harrison has come all the way through Stockport Metro’s Swimming programme, starting at Romiley and then progressing through every squad.

This year’s performances have seen him selected for the GB World Junior squad where he competed over in Indianapolis.

Abdul Ahmady from Stockport Arnies Power Lifting Club took home the Disabled Sports Achiever award.

Abdul is a regional and national level power lifter, and despite a spinal injury limiting his training, finished fourth in the English Championships and claimed a silver medal at the British Weightlifting Spring Open.

Terry Bright from Reddish North End Football Club was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award for his role as secretary of the club.

He volunteers nearly every day at the club and he has been instrumental in the club growing from just seven teams in 2008 to 44 at the start of the season.

The Changing Lifestyle Recognition Award went to Anita Nickson, who joined Life Leisure’s PARiS scheme after 29 hospital admissions over an eight-year period for an illness which only affects 1 in 100,000 people.

Marple Athletic Junior Football Club are currently the Cheshire FA Charter Standard Club of the year and have had huge growth in playing numbers, particularly girls.

They scooped the Club of the Year award, and offer a number of free sessions for the community in addition to their strong coach development programme.

Abdul Ahmady receives his award from Val Cottam
Abdul Ahmady receives his award from Val Cottam

Hilary Clamp from Stockport Bramhall Hockey Club won The Sir Stanley Matthews Unsung Hero Award for over 30 years’ service to the club.

Her impact and legacy to hockey is evident today, and without her willingness to devote her time, the sport in Stockport would not be in the strong position it currently enjoys with increasing participation at both junior and senior level.

Coach of the Year was awarded to Anthony Pugh, who coaches three teams at Reddish North End Football Club.

His under-12 boys’ team won the Manchester & English Cup competitions whilst his new girls’ teams compete in the North Manchester League.

A new category for this year was the School Commitment to PE and Sport Award, which demonstrates how physical education and sport can have a positive impact on the whole school.

Rosehill Primary were the first winners, demonstrating an extensive extra-curricular programme, activities that supported other subjects and Sports Ambassadors delivering games and activities during breaks.

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 invisaged 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 from the Stockport Sports Awards will be put forward and represent Stockport at the Greater Manchester Sports Awards being held at the Point, Lancashire County Cricket Club on Friday, November 17.

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