Talent celebrated at the North East Disability Sports Awards

North East Disability Sports Awards - Celebrating the region’s sporting stars

The North East Disability Sports Awards headed to Northumberland for the first time to herald some of this year’s local sporting heroes.

The event is now in its 14th year and took place at Slaley Hall near Hexham on Thursday, March 23rd.  

The awards, in association with Active Northumberland, celebrate the fantastic achievements and contributions that athletes, coaches, clubs and schools have made to disability sport across the region.  

Whilst performing on the world stage is the goal for many, the awards recognise a much broader range of achievement and endeavour.

Lorraine Dewison, Chief Executive of Active Northumberland, said: “Active Northumberland is very pleased to be supporting the 2016 North East Disability Sports Awards. The awards are a great way to celebrate the fantastic achievements of so many of the North East’s sporting stars. We are looking forward to hearing about all the work that individuals, clubs and volunteers do to create opportunities to help disabled people take part in sport.”

Triple Paralympic Champion Stephen Miller once again supported the event through his Community Interest Company ‘SMILE Through Sport’. Though he was unable to attend this year’s ceremony Miller, who hails from Cramlington took to Twitter to wish all the nominees the best of luck.

We turn a spotlight on this year’s winners – the sporting heroes whose achievements were celebrated at this year’s awards:  

Young Male Achiever: Jamie Blott

Currently ranked as the country's number two in the S6/SB5 100m breaststroke, Jamie competed in the British Para Swimming International Meet in Glasgow in April. In November he won the gold medal in the English National Championships in Manchester, qualifying for this year’s international meeting in Sheffield.

Young Female Achiever: Ellen Stephenson

Despite being a relative newcomer to the world of swimming, in the last year Ellen has competed in both disabled and non-disabled events with her team. At the Downs Syndrome Nationals, she became the 100m IM champion. At the para-swimming nationals, she qualified for the women’s 50m freestyle - a huge achievement for the 12-year-old. To complete her year of success, in December 2016 she became the Junior World Record Holder for the 50m freestyle.

Outstanding Club/Group Award: Angling 4 All

With a committee comprised entirely of disabled people, the club uses sport to promote inclusion and coaches and club members voluntarily give up many hours to help their fellow anglers develop their skills. The commitment of members and the success of the club’s approach has been recognised by the Jack Charlton Disabled Anglers Association awards and its anglers are competing with distinction in disabled and non-disabled competitions.  

School Award: Sunnyside Academy

It’s been a remarkable year for Sunnyside Academy. Of the school’s 123 pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, 90% have taken part in a competition or after school club. The school works with local organisations such as Action for the Blind to provide a menu of sports activities and has received funding for the Give it your Max disability tennis programme, allowing visually impaired pupils to take part in weekly tennis activities.

Participant Award: Richard Young

A multi-talented individual competing in cycling, athletics and football, 25-year-old Richard has overcome adversity including bullying because of his disability and three rounds of major heart surgery – to excel in sport, winning gold and silver medals at the Special Olympics last June. He has since gone on to add another two gold medals in cycling to add to his collection.  

Service to Sport: Susan Prasad

With over 25 years’ experience as a technical official in swimming, Susan has progressed through county, regional, national and international competitions and now sits on the World Para Swimming technical committee. Last year she was the technical delegate at the Rio Paralympic Games. She has been instrumental in ensuring swimming is included in college and university competitions and also tutors other officials coming through the ranks.

Coach of the Year: Ros Miller

Ros has been coaching for over 20 years and in 2016 coached her son, North East sporting hero Steven Miller, to a bronze medal in the Rio Paralympics. Her passion for coaching is as strong as ever and she juggles coaching her son with coaching a group of local athletes.

Team of the Year: Middlesbrough Powerchair Football Club

In 2016 the club achieved their goal of being the first team to be promoted to the premiership division of the national league.  In the same season, the team were also crowned champions of the North East Powerchair Football League.

Female Personality Award: Jade Jones

Wheelchair racer Jade has had an exceptional year, setting personal best times over four distances and being ranked number 1 in the country in the T54 category in events including 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5,000m, 10K and the marathon. Her impressive season culminated in selection for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where she competed on the track for Team GB.  Off the track she is an ambassador and role model for disabled and non-disabled young people in sport.

Male Personality: Matt Wylie

This year swimmer Matt became British and Eurpoean champion, holding the British Record for the S9 50m freestyle. To complete his collection of titles, 20-year-old Matt, who has cerebral palsy, became Paralympic champion, clinching the gold medal by 0.04 seconds in Rio.

05 Apr 2017