Joe Townsend and Teresa Bennett are honoured at Sussex Sports Awards

Two local sports stars have had their efforts and achievements recognised after being crowned winners at the 2018 Sussex Sports Awards.

Joe Townsend
Joe Townsend

Held at The Grand Hotel on Friday November 23rd, this year’s event received a record number of nominations from across the county which has seen Polegate-based Joe Townsend win the University of Brighton Disabled Sports Personality of the Year Award and Teresa Bennett, also from Polegate, win is the Wave Leisure Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award.

The black-tie gala dinner, organised by Active Sussex, also welcomed special guest host, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards.

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Eddie motivated and inspired the audience with glittering tales of his journey to the 1988 Winter Olympics which saw him become the first competitor since 1928 to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping.

The British sporting legend also became the British ski jumping record holder, ninth in amateur speed skiing , and a stunt jumping world record holder for jumping over 6 buses.

Winner of the University of Brighton Disabled Sports Personality of the Year Award is Joe Townsend. Former Royal Marine Commando, Joe, lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008.

He got into triathlon when he completed the Ironman UK triathlon in Bolton in July 2011.

He has since completed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where he finished second in the disability category in a time of 11:35:52 (2012) and has established himself as one of the best PTWC paratriathletes in the world.

He competed for ParalympicsGB in Rio in September 2016 and is the reigning Commonwealth Champion. In addition, he carried the Paralympic Flame into the London 2012 stadium as part of the opening ceremony.

Teresa Bennett has won the Wave Leisure Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award. Teresa has been involved with school sport in Sussex for nearly 30 years, as a PE Teacher at Patcham High in Brighton, a School Sport Coordinator and in her current role as the Hastings & Rother School Games Organiser (SGO).

Outside of school, table tennis is Teresa’s sport. She volunteers her time to help locally, and regionally, and is very well respected in table tennis circles.

Sadie Mason MBE, Active Sussex CEO, comments: “I’d like to congratulate both Teresa and Joe on this wonderful achievement. Both individuals have demonstrated a level of commitment and dedication which truly inspired everyone in attendance – they are certainly both worthy winners of a Sussex Sports Award.

This year was the hardest round of nominations that we have ever had to judge so to have come out on top of such a competitive field of nominees speaks volumes about what Joe and Teresa have achieved.”