Winners announced at prestigious Sussex Sport & Physical Activity Awards

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A record breaking Sussex athlete, a unique cancer support charity, and a team working with one of the most deprived areas nationally have been recognised for their work.

The Sussex Sport & Physical Activity Awards, formerly known as the Sussex Sport Awards, shone a light on the incredible work going on in Sussex’s sport and physical activity sector.

The event, which took place last night (Nov 30) at the Sussex County Cricket Ground in Hove, was organised by Active Sussex.

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The nine awards reflected the variety of work Active Sussex focuses on to address inequality and empower everyone to be active in a way that works for them.

Sport award winners | Photo: Nick Ford StudioSport award winners | Photo: Nick Ford Studio
Sport award winners | Photo: Nick Ford Studio

Active Sussex’s Chief Executive, Sadie Mason MBE, said: “I feel very privileged to be able to congratulate our award winners, runners-up and nominees for the tireless effort and commitment they've undoubtedly shown over the past year, and in at least three cases, it's been almost a lifetime of dedication to helping the community to be more active.

“As we head into the festive period, Active Sussex is delighted to shine a light on these outstanding achievements and to truly celebrate the people that enable others to be more physically active, or who themselves continue to achieve their personal goals whether in the local community or on the international stage.

“We are truly proud and appreciative of you all.”

First up was the Active School of the Year category, with St Peter & St Paul C E (VA) Primary School, in Bexhill-on-Sea, winning the award.

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Sport award winners and others nominated | Photo: Nick Ford StudioSport award winners and others nominated | Photo: Nick Ford Studio
Sport award winners and others nominated | Photo: Nick Ford Studio

Runners-up were Southwater Junior School in Southwater, and Thomas a Becket Junior School in Worthing.

St Peter & St Paul works hard to ensure its community is active - vitally important as 50 per cent of pupils live in flats, with limited outside access.

The second category of the night was the Community Engagement award, with Active Hastings winning the award ahead of fellow finalists The Y.E.S Project, and Hastings Rounders.

Through community outreach, Active Hastings works hard to increase activity levels within the areas of the town with the highest health inequalities. A challenging, but vital, task considering some of these areas fall within the one per cent most deprived nationally.

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The third award of the night was The Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP Inclusion & Diversity Award. This year, the winner was Defiant Sports, with runners-up Parable Dance and Maidenbower Colts Football Club.

Defiant Sports is the epitome of inclusion and diversity, working with the most marginalised and excluded communities in and around Eastbourne. These range from children and young people with SEND and people with physical impairments or long term health conditions,through to refugees and asylum seekers, and young people at risk of offending.

A new category this year was the Environmental Sustainability Award, highlighting an organisation or project taking steps to reduce its environmental impact and advocate this crucial area of work to others.

The winner was South Downs Leisure, with runners-up Crowborough Athletic Football Club, and Freedom Leisure.

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South Downs Leisure prioritises community and sustainability, with an ambitious aim to be carbon net zero at all its drysites by 2030, wetside sites by 2040, and is working hard to promote a cultural shift within the organisation.

South downs Leisure own Splashpoint in Worthing, Worthing Leisure Centre, Davisons Leisure Centre, the new swimming pool in Brighton, and other facilities in the wider Worthing area.

Next up was the volunteer of the year award, this year won by Richard Coleman, from Maidenbower Colts Football Club. Runners-up were Eric Douglin, organiser of the World Club Basketball Tournament,and Amy Walker, from Hastings Rounders.

Not only is Ritchie the chairman of the football club, but he is also the club development officer, responsible for its social media, and a mental health first aider all while holding down a demanding full time job and having a young family. Richie wasn't interested in football before he got involved with the club, but saw the sport as a platform to have a positive and lasting impact on young people, preparing them for adult life and helping them navigate childhood in an increasingly complex world.

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The Health Improvement award, a category introduced last year, was won by Jan Sheward, Dwayne Clevett and the Cancer United team.

Runners-up included Jas Gray and Heather Jury – both Active Hastings GP Link Workers – and the 20/20 Health team.

This unique cancer support charity, based in Angmering but covering the whole of West Sussex, offers help and support to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of those with cancer from diagnosis onwards, inspiring them to embrace the things they can do and to refuse to be defined by what they can’t.

Another new category this year was the Rising Star Award, won by Joel Lock from Defiant Sports. Runners-up were Aaron Bishop, also from Defiant Sports, alongside Bailey Newman, from Up-Grade Training and Therapy.

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Joel has been described as an ‘outstanding coach and employee’ who is working hard to make sport more accessible, such as by creating resources and cheat sheets for all the coaches to refer to in order to ensure all the sessions are accessible and engaging.

Sussex has a wealth of talented sports personalities and this year’s three finalists - athlete Amber Anning, cricketer Georgia Adams, and powerlifter Aneela Rose - meant it was a very difficult job to choose the winner. However, this year’s award went to Brighton & Hove AC star Amber Anning, an athlete who won Young Sports Personality of the Year 2015 at the Sussex Sports Award when she was 15.

Amber has had a remarkable year, including achieving a World best, World bronze, breaking a Sussex record and achieving the third fastest GB 400m time indoors.

The last award of the evening was the Outstanding Contribution of the Year award, won by Emma Greenough, for her work in promoting sport and physical activity in schools. The two finalists were Wendy Pritchard, for her services to swimming; and Ken Benham, for his services to football.

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Emma, who has worked in Brighton & Hove for more than 15 years, for the School Sports Partnership and as Schools Games Organiser since inception, activating schools and passionately addressing inequalities.

To read more about the winners and runners-up, visit the Latest News section of the Active Sussex website