The 18th annual Greater Manchester Sports Awards, took place on 16th November at Emirates Old Trafford with over 500 guests in attendance. The event celebrates the outstanding commitment and achievements made in physical activity and sport across Greater Manchester over the past 12 months.
The Greater Manchester Mayor’s Award was selected and presented on the night by Mayor Andy Burnham. The winner of the award, the Greater Manchester Ability Counts League is a volunteer-run multi-impairment football league for all ages, genders and abilities. With over 50 teams from across Greater Manchester and the North West, the league provides the opportunity for disabled footballers to get active and socialise, where many would not do otherwise.
Mayor Andy Burnham said;
“Giving our young people a healthy start in life, reducing inequalities, keeping us physically and socially active as we age – these are worth more than the silverware in any club’s cabinet and such achievements should be recognised and rewarded. I couldn’t be more proud of presenting the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Award, and enjoyed meeting the finalists and winners who do such great work across our region.”
The night featured the motivational guest speaker Claire Lomas; marathoner, motorcyclist, hand cyclist and campaigner who returned to Manchester after completing this year’s Greater Manchester Marathon in a robotic suit.
Claire commented; “Sport and physical activity have the power to transform lives so it’s vital that we celebrate and reward those who help to get communities more active. I’m thrilled to be returning to Greater Manchester, after completing the Marathon here earlier this year, to be part of this year’s event and look forward to celebrating the achievements of the people here in Greater Manchester.”
GreaterSport CEO Sara Tomkins said; “The Greater Manchester Sports Awards are so important to recognise the work across our region and the positive impact on people’s lives. Without tonight’s finalists, physical activity and sport in Greater Manchester would not be the success it is and their achievements should be celebrated. I congratulate all the winners for their outstanding achievements over the last 12 months.”
There were another eight awards with finalists coming from the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester
Sports Achiever of the Year sponsored by Total Swimming Pools; Ewan Wilson – Salford
15-year-old Ewan Wilson of Salford Swimming Club impressed judges with his commitment to training (7-8 times a week), sometimes training twice in the morning before school and competes most weekends. He competed at the 2017 British National Championships and made it into the National finals in all his events achieving a highest rank of 4th in Britain. He was selected for and represented Lancashire at the UK Inter-County Championships.
Disabled Sports Achiever of the Year supported by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership; Danny Royle - Salford
Danny Royle plays mainstream Rugby League for Cadishead Rhinos and is an integral part of the Cadishead Rhinos family and was part of the 2017 Simon Annis Cup winning team. Being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (which severely affects the lungs) at an early age didn’t stop him pursuing his love of sports. Danny’s intensity of training helps to keep him fit and helps to keep his chest clear and also makes him a better player.
Changing Lifestyle Award sponsored by The Daily Mile; Sally Skellern - Wigan
Sally suffered from multiple debilitating injuries through her job leaving her with complex physical/psychological challenges. Sally was unable to run, lost all confidence and gained weight stuck in bed most days. She made the leap 7 months ago to change her life. With dedication and determination Sally has gained the ability to run again, is no longer on medication for pain and depression and has lost 2 stone in weight.
Volunteer of the Year sponsored by Emirates Old Trafford; Andy Steel - Oldham
Andy volunteers for Oldham AFC where he is currently second team manager, academy coach, executive committee member and social media officer. Andy also supports Andy’s Man Club wherever he can – a group designed to support men to talk about mental health issues. Andy has not missed a day’s training session or match in the last year and is always available to talk to, or listen to anyone at the club.
Coach of the Year sponsored by William Hare Group; Jane Dennison - Trafford
Jane is a massive driving force with the Mile Shy Club. Jane provides coaching on a weekly basis to support hundreds of people. Her reputation and the quality of her coaching have led to her mentoring several other coaches. She’s secured funding to qualify other coaches and has also developed Mile Shy Clubs in other locations in the UK. Jane organises the group to support charities and has given so much to make a difference to others.
Unsung Hero of the Year sponsored by HGA Creative; Vivien Makin - Bury
Viv lives and breathes hockey. She’s committed to coaching hockey to as many young people in Bury as possible, through her coaching at Bury Hockey Club, working with local schools to attract new players, and player development. This year Vivien has been involved in coaching most age groups, running teams in Greater Manchester and representing them at regional meetings. She not only coaches, she’s also been the President and Welfare Officer for many years.
School Commitment to PE and Sport Award sponsored by University Academy 92; Russell Scott Primary School - Tameside
This school provides high quality PE, giving all children 2 hours minimum PE each week. They invest in employing sports professionals, and training staff, to deliver sessions and were awarded gold in the Tameside School’s Food4Life award. All children and staff take part in The Daily Mile and sports clubs are free, breaking down cost barriers. This school lives and breathes sport, encouraging everyone to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
Club of the Year sponsored by Steroplast; Dom Doyle F.C. - Tameside
Formed in memory of Dominic Doyle, this club works to raise awareness of knife crime, visiting schools to encourage young people to stay away from drugs, gangs and crime. The club provides its volunteers with regular training, recognising their work at presentation evenings. Accomplishments include; Manchester FA ‘Team of the Year’ last November, 2017 & 2018 Tameside Football League Cup winners, 2018 Lancashire & Cheshire League Cup winners and Wray Cup winners.
New research has highlighted the link between sedentary behaviour during adolescence and depression whilst highlighting the need for people of all ages to move more.
Solemother was the recipient of the first Initiative of the Year Award at the 2019 Greater Manchester Sports Awards. Hear about the group and how they're helping to empower women and girls across the world to move more.