After a successful nomination period, our independent judging panel reviewed, shortlisted and chose the winners of this years Active Suffolk Awards.
There was a real variety of nominations submitted this year and many of the years winners have been recognised for their contribution to sport and physical activity during the pandemic. After gathering videos from all of the shortlisted nominations and winners, we worked with Summer Isle Films who collated all of the footage where our hosts, Graeme Mac of BBC Radio Suffolk and Stephen Foster announced this years winners.
After premiering three awards videos from Mon 29th Nov - Wed 1st Dec we are pleased to announce that the winners of this years Active Suffolk Awards are as follows:
The Active Primary School Award
Red Oak Primary School, Lowestoft
After transforming their approach and prioritising physical activity over the last 7 years, Red Oak Primary School made an exceptional effort to maintain their success during the pandemic, through the introduction of their Family Fitness Project. This was widely recognised, and as a result they were asked to train neighbouring schools and coaches on how to adapt physical activity programmes for children, families, and communities. They took the title as county champions at the Virtual School Games with thanks to the dedicated support and encouragement offered to the pupils, and they then went on to be the first school in Suffolk to reintroduce and organise face to face competitive sports. In addition, the school were scouted by Ipswich Town Football Club where they are now working in partnership to develop and deliver the best football opportunities for schools in the North Suffolk area.
Young Inspiring Sportsperson
Millie King has been a committed member of Ipswich Harriers since the age of 11 years. During the pandemic she has had to overcome a season of not being able to compete and like so many determined to continue training through the restrictions of covid. Despite this, Millie came back and has excelled! Once again she qualified and represented Suffolk at the national English School Athletics Championships where she gained the silver medal. From this success she was then selected to run for England at an international event at Manchester where she achieved the bronze medal in the 200m and a gold in the 4x100m relay. Millie is currently ranked 3rd in the country for U17 200m. Millie's school peers watch her performances in awe and whilst she is described by her school teachers as "inspirational, dedicated and humble" there really was no other winner for this years Young Inspiring Sportperson!
My Active Community Award
Kesgrave Junior Parkrun
Kesgrave junior parkrun provide a free, timed 2 kilometre run for children aged 4-14 every Sunday. Making a fantastic comeback post lockdown as one of the first parkruns across both the county and country to relaunch. They were passionate about providing a safe environment for young runners to socialise, re-engage with sport and physical activity and improve their mental health through abating some of their anxieties of being away from home during a pandemic. Not only that, they provided a positive community for adults to volunteer and support other families. More recently, they have made links with local schools, providing opportunities for older children to volunteer to qualify for their Duke of Edinburgh awards. It is a welcoming, positive and engaging community that actively promotes wellbeing, inclusivity, personal development and a love of sport. Frankly, a Sunday morning at Kesgrave junior parkrun is the favourite part of the week.
My Active Advocate Award - Volunteer
Gavin's positivity has been an inspiration to his team, Wots Up FC Disability Squad, during the pandemic. He volunteered and dedicated his time towards building their confidence and motivating them to stay active and improve their physical and mental wellbeing whilst they looked forward to returning to training and playing together. Gavin never let the pandemic slow him down and has consistently managed to inspire whether that was sharing photos of his football activities and videos of his regular goalkeeper training assisted by his wife or popping up on the group chat with some jovial content to get the lads talking. Gavin has downs syndrome, but this doesn't stop him from striving to achieve what he wants. He works hard, loves football, his team and his team-mates and has kept the team going with his strength and willingness during tough times.
Active Advocate Award - Professional
Paul Warner from the Personal Training Centre in Sudbury
Paul has worked in the fitness industry for 12 years. During the pandemic Paul opened a new bespoke personal training centre which alongside offering fun and innovative approaches to exercise focusses upon mental health, anxiety and depression. Paul caters for all ages and abilities. He is always working to ensure every exercise session is unique through bringing in new tools, techniques or exercises including exciting virtual reality training sessions. During lockdown Paul ensured people were still able to access services through zoom sessions and virtual support groups. He also developed a collaboration with Thrive with Sue, to offer a mental health training programme at the centre and linked up with Edge Physio to help clients with movement and recovery. Paul is passionate about what he does and goes the extra mile to help his clients in reaching their goals.
The Active Change Award
During the pandemic, Matthew introduced physical activity and successfully transformed his life going from a size XXL to a S, losing a staggering 55kg and reducing his risk of type 2 diabetes to the lowest category! Matthew's weight meant that he was too heavy for a treadmill and his limited fitness only allowed him to walk around his office for 10 minutes at a time. He did not let this defeat him; Matthew built upon his physical activity each day and has since used his newfound knowledge and passion, to inspire other local people working in IT to move more through the launch of his fortnightly TechWalks in Ipswich.
Inspiring Sportsperson Award
Harriet Welham has had an outstanding season in her basketball career and continues to be recognised for her performance, where she won the National player of the year award for the second year in a row back in May 2021. Her incredible accolades to date and soaring stats have now seen her secure a professional contract where she has been selected to compete with a team in France. This achievement has been the first for Ipswich Basketball Club, the team she represented here in Suffolk. This achievement, her mentoring and the continuing support she offers her fellow club and team has inspired many of the young girls training in the junior teams at Ipswich Basketball Club. She has proved to them that dreams can come true if you work hard and stay focused.
Active Coach Award
John works incredibly hard as a football coach at Lil Kickers Academy. The children he coaches look forward to their sessions every week and cannot stop talking about them. His coaching has helped these young footballers to gain confidence, meet new friends and feel proud of their achievements however big or small. During lockdown John organised daily workout videos for the children and their families to help them to stay active whilst learning from home. He also set new challenges every week to keep everyone engaged and their spirits up. John is welcoming, patient, and enthusiastic, he strives to make sessions fun and educational ensuring the children keep smiling and laughing. He is also able to adapt sessions beautifully to suit individual abilities. It is all these attributes alongside his dedication which has led him to inspire many children to enjoy sport and physical activity from a young age.
Active Club Award
Lakenheath Youth Football Club
The aim of Lakenheath Youth Football Club is to provide football in a fun and safe environment and despite the challenges of the last 18 months, they have continued to fulfil this vision through their commitment to go above and beyond for the local community. Despite the cancelled fixtures, the club organised games and safe open training sessions which saw 150 children from the local community taking part. In the last 2 years alone, the clubs' memberships have grown by 40%. The fundraising efforts during this time have also allowed the club to offer subsidised club rates to support those who needed it most during the pandemic. The club is described as a well-run and organised 'family' which is continuously striving to improve.