A top young fencer and a teenager who helped rescue a junior football team from collapse were among the winners of this year’s Malvern Hills District Community Sports Awards.
More than 200 dignitaries, guests and nominees packed into the event’s new home of the Bank House Hotel to discover the winners of the 13 awards on offer. A total of 60 nominations were submitted for this year’s awards, run by Malvern Hills District Council and headline sponsored by Freedom Leisure.
Those recognised on the night included 17-year-old Hayden Bell who won Young Volunteer of the Year after donating his time to coach Leigh and Bransford Badgers U7s football team and preventing the side from folding. Volunteer of the Year went to 86-year-old gymnastics coach Jim Cooling who has donated his time for a number of years to helping young people get started and compete in gymnastics. David ‘Ern’ Robbins was also recognised for 20 years of dedication and love for Malvern RFC by being presented with the Unsung Hero Award.
Team of the Year went to the Motionesque Lyrical Jazz Team who represented England at the Festival of Dance and Performing Arts in Los Angeles as well as the World Championships in Orlando.
Malvern Hills RFC’s Youth Section took the Club of the Year title having seen a 14 per cent year on year increase in the number of children involved and a 40 per cent rise in volunteers.
The Positive Change Award – new for 2017 – went to Megan Judge who took up running to overcome health issues and now coaches a Couch 2 5k programme to help others get active. She also ran the London Marathon, raising more than £2,000 for anorexia and bulimia care in the process.
Danielle Lawson was named Sports Personality of the Year after becoming Britain’s number 1 ranked under-20 female epee fencer and number 52 in the world. She was also a member of the British under-20 women’s epee team for the World Championships and winner of the Cole cup FIE International Satellite women’s epee.
Those present also heard from guest speaker and Rio Paralympic champion Andy Lewis MBE who told of his inspirational journey from losing a leg to winning gold in the triathlon in 2016.
The Audience were also treated to a special street dance performance from Malvern based Beat Breakerz.
He said: “I was very happy to be invited along to the sports awards, it amazes me how sport and being active can really change people's lives. I personally love inspiring people, so to be at this event and leave being inspired myself really does show how great it was”
Cllr David Watkins, portfolio holder for healthier communities on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “Sport has the power to change lives and we heard so many inspiration tales on the night of it doing just that, from those achieving wonderful things in the competitive arena to those who tirelessly give their time behind the scenes to support their success.
“Congratulations to all who were nominated, our winners and our sponsors for their support and I look forward to next year’s event being even bigger and better.”
The full list of winners is available to view online by visiting www.malvernhills.gov.uk/sports-awards