Suffolk Coastal: Suffolk Coastal Sport Awards honours dedication and commitment

LEADING sporting stars from the area have been honoured for their dedication and commitment.

The sixth annual Suffolk Coastal Sport Awards were held at BT’s Adastral Park in Martlesham, near Ipswich.

The night was a celebration of achievement and commitment from across the district.

The region’s Olympic and Paralympic torch bearers made an appearance, while people also had the chance to meet retired badminton star Gail Emms, who won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics and gold medal at the 2006 World Championships.

Among the winners was Aimee Fairburn of Felixstowe who scooped the Ufford Park sponsored award for Overall Sports Personality of the Year. In 2011 she became only the second UK female ever to achieve a Second Dan in the ancient Japanese martial art of aiki jutsu.

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BT’s award for Young Sports Personality of the Year was awarded to Katherine Rednall, who at 16 became the youngest-ever winner of a national bowls singles title.

This year she has also won the Suffolk Ladies four wood singles, the Suffolk Ladies Pairs, the Suffolk Ladies under-25s singles and the Suffolk Ladies Champion of Champions.

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Disability Sports Personality, sponsored by Cory Brothers, was awarded to sailor Brian Honour, who is a dedicated volunteer and member of the East Anglian Sailing Trust (EAST), as well as being facilities manager at the new Waterside Community Centre.

This year he qualified as a Royal Yachting Association Powerboat Instructor and has been instrumental in getting EAST recognised as a RYA Sailability “Centre of Excellence”.

Deben Radio’s Club of the Year went to Woodbridge Rugby Club, which has recently extended its facilities to accommodate its 300 strong youth section and a thriving women’s section.

Meanwhile Gorseland Primary School picked up two awards – The Sandwich Shop-sponsored Team of the Year for its athletics team and DC Leisure’s Sports School of the Year.

The athletics team has achieved persistently high performances throughout the last year, while the school itself was judged to offer pupils a wide range of activities including karate, tennis, dance and gymnastics as well as having excellent links with cycle speedway, Deben Swimming Club, football clubs and Ipswich Harriers.

Coach of the Year, sponsored by Suffolk Sport, was awarded to Phil Shire, who has successfully run Sizewell and Leiston Karate Club for more than 25 years.

EDF Energy’s Volunteer of the Year award went to Sam Honour, who spends 40/45 weekends a year and several weeks during the summer helping out at the East Anglian Sailing Trust (EAST).

The Lifetime Achievement award, sponsored by Magnox Limited, was awarded to rugby stalwart Brian Williams.

As well as playing the game since 1952, he has coached Ipswich YMCA, Suffolk Youth and Eastern Counties teams. When he decided to hang up his boots, he became a referee, and has held many administrative positions within the game, including being president of the Rugby Football Union in 2008/9.

Richard Kerry, chairman of Suffolk Coastal District Council, praised all those who were nominated for their dedication and commitment.

“The awards are about marking the special efforts of our district’s own sporting heroes, both those who through their efforts and achievements have won the right to be celebrated, and also those whose behind the scenes commitments are making it possible for so many to enjoy or excel in sport,” he said.

“What all of us must do is to build on the enthusiasm of this event, of this year’s sporting bonanza, and redouble our efforts to give people of all ages the chance to take part in sport, to become fitter, to have an active role in their community, and to challenge and test themselves.”

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