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Wigan Sports Awards Honour Local Heroes
Monday 28th January, 2008

Wigan Sports Awards Honour Local Heroes
Disabled Sports Achiver Daniel Dawoud with March Woods and a five of the winners (all bar Daniel Greaves) with Marc Woods and Lizzie Hendley (far left) Sports Development Officer for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust

Wigan Borough’s sporting community enjoyed a taste of the Orient on Friday evening as they gathered to celebrate the 8th Wigan Borough Sports Awards at the JJB Stadium.

The annual ceremony, organised by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, recognises the hard work and dedication put in by competitors, coaches and sports clubs from all over the Wigan Borough during the past year. The event adopted a Chinese theme in honour of the Beijing Olympics later this year.

Special guest speaker Marc Woods, a twelve time Paralympic medallist, gave an inspired speech about his own triumph over adversity before presenting Wigan and Leigh’s own sporting heroes with their awards.

A staggering 114 nominations were received for the six awards up for grabs: Coach of the year; Club of the Year; Volunteer in Sports of the Year; Sports Achiever of the Year; Disabled Sports Achiever of the Year; and The Wilf Brogan Unsung Hero in Sport Award. Each award winner will now go on to represent Wigan Borough at the Greater Manchester Sports Awards on Friday 11th April.

Marc, who overcame cancer as a teenager to succeed in the swimming pool, said: “It is an honour to be here tonight with so many great achievers. I am especially pleased that the volunteers and coaches are getting the recognition they deserve; without them, there would never be a chance for all of the young participants in the room to shine. There’s every chance some of the people her will be competing in London four years from now. The only advice I would give is to remain determined and train hard, but remember to always maintain a sense of humour and keep a smile on your face.”

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust Executive Director Martin Eden said: “The evening was a triumph for everyone connected with sport in the Wigan Borough. The stories we have heard tonight have been truly inspirational. Every single one of the nominees has played their part in ensuring that our area is one of the most thriving and exciting sporting hot spots in the country. Tonight was about us and the community as a whole paying tribute all of the sporting heroes; whether they are coaches, volunteers or competitors. I would also like to thank the Sport Development Unit for putting on a fantastic event and all of our sponsors for their invaluable support.”

The Wigan Borough Sports Awards is sponsored by JJB Sports. The awards’ other sponsors are Wigan Warriors Rugby League Football Club, Wigan Athletic Football Club, Wigan Borough Sports Council, Ferryman Blue Graphic Design, WISH FM, ADM and Wigan Disability Sports Forum.

The 2007 Wigan Borough Sports Awards winners are:

Sports Achiever of the Year (sponsored by Wigan Sports Development)

Winner - Daniel Greaves aged 15 from Leigh
Runner Up - Michael Grundy – Wigan and Leigh Wrestling Club
Finalist - Mattie McKiernan – Leigh Cricket Club

Daniel belongs to the City of Liverpool Trampoline Club. He has been involved in trampolining for five years and faces a 40 mile round trip six days a week to attend training. Daniel is a dedicated sportsman who trains 30 hours per week but is also dedicated to his academic work and is currently completing a BTEC First Certificate in Sport Course in his own time.

Daniel’s achievements include:

o British Schools U15 Individual Champion;
o Junior British Team Champion;
o World Age Championships in Quebec, finished 22nd in the world;
o Gold Medal as part of the Great Britain Youth International Team in Sweden;
o Selected for British Gymnastics Target 2012 World Class Development Squad;
o Attended World Training Camp in October.

Daniel said: “I would like to thank my Mum and Dad for all their support. I really love to compete and show people what I can do and I really believe that if I keep working hard I can be there in 2012. Tonight is really the icing on the cake; I’m absolutely delighted to win this award.”

Disabled Sports Achiever (sponsored by Wigan Disability Sports Forum)

Winner - Daniel Dawoud aged 15 from Hindley
Runner Up - Dean Cartwright - Wigan Athletic Ability Counts Club
Finalist - Anthony Burgoyne - Multi Sports Club/Allstar Athletics Club

Daniel is a passionate young man who lives and breathes sport. Through Daniel’s persistence Hindley High School and Oakfield School formed a cricket team called the Hindley 6-ers. Daniel captained the winning team, taking them from Old Trafford to Lords where the team came third.

Daniel has also been selected to play for England for the second year running. Daniel’s dream is to be a coach and is currently undertaking his Junior Sports Leaders Award and has already taken P.E lessons for primary school children. He has also become the Assistant Coach for the year 7 football team.

Daniel said: “I won this award two years ago, so it’s fantastic to win again; I’m very, very proud. I love volunteering and I think joining a mainstream school has given me opportunities than ever. I obviously love taking part in sport but I get just as much enjoyment out of coaching younger children – it’s great to see the looks on their faces when they are taking part in sport. I’d like to thank my family, everyone at school and the Sports Development Unit for all of their support.”

Volunteer in Sport of the Year (sponsored by Ferryman Blue Graphic Design)

Winner - Martin Buckley aged 18 from Leigh
Runner Up - Sharon Seaton - Westleigh Basketball Club
Finalist - Jo Cleworth - Westleigh Ladies Netball Club

Martin, from Westleigh Basketball Club, is an inspiration to other young volunteers and players. Over the past year he has given up 15 hours per week to basketball. Martin has completed his Level 2 Coaching Award and has delivered sessions to primary schools, at community days, coached the Girls Youth Games Team, the Under 16s boys teams and Under 15s mixed team.

Martin is currently basketball’s ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ in the UK. He was also awarded a Township Young Volunteer Award in 2007.

Martin said: “I’m really shocked to win. I’ve picked up a lot of accolades lately, but it’s extra special to win this one. I try and strike a good balance between playing and coaching. It’s worth putting the hours in because I get a lot out of it – especially when we are winning! I’d like to thank all of the team at Westleigh, especially Sharon Seaton, and I’m really looking forward to another successful year.”

Coach of the Year (sponsored by Wigan Athletic Football Club)

Winner - Lee Glynn from Winstanley
Runner Up - Peter Daulby - Wigan Seagulls Sports Acrobatics Club
Finalist - Cathy Green - Haigh Hall Ladies

Lee, from Winstanley Warriors Junior Football Club, is currently awaiting his final assessment of his UEFA B qualification. Lee mentors three of the club’s coaches, helping to develop their knowledge and skills.

Lee was instrumental in setting up St Aidan’s Girls Football Team which he coaches one night a week, alongside the boys’ school team. He has also helped set up and coach the new Under 8s team at Winstanley Warriors. Five of Lee’s players have also secured contracts at Premier League Football Clubs.

Lee said: “I’m so surprised to win this award – I’m still in shock! Looking around the room there are some great coaches and clubs present so this is a real honour. The greatest thing for me is seeing the players we have improve and develop their skills no matter what their ability. I enjoy all of the different elements of my job as a coach and getting involved in organising events. I’d like to thank everyone at the club for their support – especially Shaun Rotherham.”

Club of the Year (sponsored by Wigan Borough Sports Council)

Winner - Westleigh Basketball Club
Runner Up - Highfield Grange Football Club
Finalist - Tyldesley Rugby Union Football Club

This is the second year running that the club has won this award. The club is renowned for its support of young volunteers. In 2007, 14 young players gained their level one basketball coaching qualification, four gained their level two qualification, and four gained their level two table officiating awards.

The club has secured over £40,000 of funding to work on various projects including forming an Under18s National League team and starting a Sunday league. The club is currently working towards four star accreditation, co-ordinates a schools programme in Golborne and Westleigh areas and have given support to many community events throughout 2007.

Andy Seaton said: “This really is unbelievable. To win two years on the trot is unprecedented and it is an honour for everyone involved with the club. We all work really hard and being recognised like this makes all of that effort very worthwhile. We are a club that operates seven days a week and we are really progressing well. In a matter of a few years we have progressed to play at county and even national level; we are all very proud tonight.”

The ‘Wilf Brogan’ Unsung Hero in Sport Award (sponsored by WISH FM)

Winner - Jo Riches from Tyldesley
Runner Up - Mike Hack - Astley and Tyldesley Cycle Speedway Club
Finalist - Margaret Byrne - Golborne Parkside Amateur Rugby League Football Club

Jo has been involved at the club since 1998 and quickly became a valuable and committed volunteer. Jo has been responsible for securing over £12,000 through various grants to develop the club and holds the posts of Junior Chairman, Fixtures Secretary and Club Coach Coordinator. She has used her roles effectively to implement the club’s development plan.

As schools liaison officer, Jo has personally delivered over 150 curriculum and after school clubs and co-ordinated 15 school tournaments for primary and secondary schools. As well as being involved at Tyldesley, Jo sits on the Lancashire Women’s and Girls Rugby Committee and is Treasurer for the North West Women’s and Girls Rugby Development Committee.

Jo said: “This is fantastic! It’s so satisfying to win this and it’s great recognition, not only for me, but for the club as well. I do put a lot of hours in but I get so much satisfaction out of it; it’s very worthwhile. We’ve got a club that is really going places now and I’d like to thank all of the volunteers at the club and the Sports Development Unit for their wonderful support.”

For further information about any of the winners contact Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s Sports Development Unit on 01942 404982.

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