Nearly 200 people gathered at a glittering awards ceremony at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on Thursday June 16 to celebrate movement, physical activity and sport across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.
The Pandemic has presented more challenges than ever to moving, but up and down the county, passionate people and organisations have been going the extra mile to improve the lives of local residents by helping them move.
Public nominations were gathered across 7 categories with an independent panel selecting the shortlisted and nominees and winners.
The evening commenced with a dance performance by the Amersham School Dance Squad. Followed by an inspiring speech from three-time Olympian, 11-time UK Champion and the current British record holder for javelin, Goldie Sayers.
Goldie spoke candidly about her journey to the top of her sport, the peaks and troughs along the way alongside the importance of the teachers and coaches who helped nurture her talent.
Community Group of the year, sponsored by MyMilton Keynes was won by All People Active, who put empathy, understanding and encouragement at the heart of their sessions and deliver a wide range of inclusive opportunities to the doorstep of diverse and under-served communities in Milton Keynes.
The Innovation Award, sponsored by Buckinghamshire Council, celebrates innovative and inclusive projects that either bring communities together through movement or encourage people who don’t usually take part to start moving more. Winner for 2022 was the MK United Women’s Over 30s Football programme which was set up to address the issue of women over 30 being side-lined from taking part in Football.
The School of the Year category, sponsored by Buckinghamshire New University, saw Cuddington & Dinton CofE School take the title for their commitment to delivering active opportunities to pupils during lockdown.
The Inspirational Young Person award, sponsored by Buckinghamshire College Group is presented to a young person aged 14 to 21 who is an excellent and positive role model through PE, school sport and / or community physical activity. This year Eve Savage was crowned winner for her commitment to challenging and motivating others through coaching and refereeing Football.
The Community Coach of the year, recognises individual coaches who have made an excellent contribution and commitment to getting more people starting, staying and succeeding in sport or physical activity through coaching. The panel looked for nominees who have gone above and beyond, adapting their delivery to help people get/stay active during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nathan Graham scooped the title, a brilliant role model, Nathan supports children and adults, who are often struggling in other areas of life to learn good discipline, a positive attitude and a hard-working ethos through the boxing classes he delivers.
Margaret Plummer was crowned Volunteer of the year for 2022, an award sponsored by Milton Keynes Council. Margaret volunteers as an Assistant Tennis coach at Horizon Sports Club. As a long-standing and dedicated member of the team, she makes the classes fun, whilst also teaching fantastic skills. She makes a real difference to the children’s lives and the club would not have been able to reopen after Covid without her.
The Terry Cook Unsung Hero of the year award this year sponsored by Stoke Mandeville Stadium, powered by Serco, was won by Paul Wooster. Paul is the volunteer cricket groundsman in Bradenham. He has kept the pitches in excellent condition for over 30 years. Paul can be seen repairing, mowing or watering the cricket grounds several days a week and he is also skilled in servicing and maintaining all the machinery.
The evening is organised to pay tribute to the people and organisations who make grass-roots sport happen in the area, while also giving the special Hall of Fame tribute to the county’s elite-level athletes.
Olympic Swimming legend, Adrian Moorhouse MBE was inducted into the Bucks and Milton Keynes Sporting Hall of Fame, by The Countess Howe, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire.
Sue Imbriano, Chair of Leap – the social enterprise which co-ordinated the awards – told the audience in her opening speech: “The pandemic has widened the inequalities in our society and, whilst we celebrate the wonderful work undertaken so far, we must remain focused on understanding and addressing the barriers that many people still face in being active: barriers that will continue to be exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis.”
Celebrating the #BestofBMK