SPORTS AWARDS 2013: A spectacular night celebrating local sporting success

The 2013 Bucks and MK Sports Awards is being held at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, tonight (Friday)
The 2013 Bucks and MK Sports Awards is being held at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, tonight (Friday)
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Aylesbury has featured prominently as the Bucks and MK Sports Awards were handed out at the Waterside Theatre tonight (Friday).

Each year the Bucks and MK Sport Awards highlight and recognise those individuals and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to sport in the county, in essence the people who make sport happen.

After London 2012 there was bound to be questions around whether a sporting legacy could be delivered locally, or if Bucks residents would just have memories of that spectacular summer. Friday’s awards ceremony proved beyond doubt that there has been an incredible amount of work taking place to ensure there is an on-going local legacy from the Games.

Over the last few months, nominees from across the county have been put forward for eight categories, from Young Sports Leader of the Year and School of the Year to Coach and Unsung Hero of the Year.

Not only was Friday’s event held at Aylesbury’s iconic Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury Vale was also well represented in the awards themselves with a number of nominees, and winners in three of the eight categories.

All of the shortlisted nominees for School of the Year were from Aylesbury but the panel decided that Stoke Mandeville Combined School were deserved winners, heading off competition from Bedgrove Infant and Haddenham Community Junior School.

Stoke Mandeville scooped the honour with the panel stating: “Every child at the school is provided with opportunities to compete in inter and intra school competitions or use their skills to support sporting events. The school encourages participation whatever a pupils skills or ability level and also has strong links with various community clubs. Using these links the school works hard to encourage talented children to move onto club and county level competition.”

Young Sports Leader of the Year for Bucks & MK was also won by an Aylesbury resident, Luke Scott. Luke, who qualified as a football referee in 2006 and has featured in stories several times in The Bucks Herald’s sports pages, is now a national ref tutor running events supporting the development and retention of referees in the county.

The panel said: “His high quality refereeing within the Berk & Bucks FA community saw him chosen to represent the FA at the International Dallas Cup, which only the 20 best young referees attend.”

Finally, and most prestigiously, Gordon Richardson of Aylesbury Rugby Club won the Unsung Hero of the Year award for his services to rugby. Gordon has been a member of Aylesbury Rugby Club – who are currently going great guns in the Southern Counties North League where they are second in the table – for more than 25 years as a player and official.

The panel chose Gordon because of his relentless dedication to his club: “He provides guidance and support for young players. Now a qualified referee, he gives up countless hours to referee matches. He does all the jobs that go unnoticed but miraculously get done and has put a huge amount of time into the recent refurbishment of the club. He’s a man the club can’t do without.”

There was also an honour for Aylesbury man Kevin Brooks, the former head coach at Maxwell Swimming Club based at Aqua Vale. Mandeville man Brooks, now performing the same role at Wycombe Swimming Club, was named Coach of the Year.

The awards bash got under way just after 6pm on Friday night and celebrations went on into the early hours with entertainment from Aylesbury Grammar School’s Funktion Band.

The event is organised each year by Bucks Sport – The Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Sport and Activity Partnership – a Government established county sports organisation with the aim of getting more people active for life.

See this week’s Bucks Herald for pictures and more reaction from the event and winners.