THIS week we put the spotlight on four of the categories in the North Ayrshire Community Sports Awards 2018. Judges Caroline Paterson, Councillor Louise McPhater, Stewart McConnell and Kieran McMaster were tasked with the difficult role of choosing the finalists from a very good range of nominations.
Since their inception in 2015, the awards have gained the respect and support of the sporting community and local community because of our thorough judging process and high calibre awards evening, celebrating the winners and
nominees in a range of award categories. The event encompasses a wide range of community sport aspects
from local coaches increasing participation levels to individuals who have made significant improvements to their life as a direct result of taking part in their chosen sport or activity.
The main theme at the heart of the event is recognising the positive effect sport has on the North Ayrshire community. The main themes running through the event is community, wellbeing and team spirit throughout the whole of North Ayrshire. Caroline Paterson, Group Editor of Ayrshire Weekly Press, said: “There were so many examples of athletes achieving so much, often in the face of adversity, or coaches going beyond the call of duty in
their efforts to support their club and bring a lasting change to their local community.
“One of the greatest benefits of these awards is that they shine the spotlight on that good work, and underline the power sport has to effect a real improvement on the physical health and mental wellbeing of individuals and groups
whose lives would be poorer without that intervention. The awards evening takes place on October 25 at the Waterside Hotel. For tickets email Kirsty.email@example.com.
Community Coach of the Year supported by GSK
Dr D A Campbell
Coming to Arran to join the medical practice in 1981, Dr Campbell had soon joined the local RNLI lifeboat crew and Arran Junior Sailing Club, where he soon became senior instructor, running weekly sessions, fundraisers and summer camps. Angus, as he is known, has taught over 1200 youngsters to sail, two of whom now in the prospective Olympic squad, and has been a stalwart for watersports on the island, in 2015 setting up a new coastal rowing venture.
Michael joined Irvine Bay Gymnastics Club as a free-runner to develop his own skills and now coaches six days a week at as well as coaching parkour and free running and tumbling to dance groups. From pre-school and beginners to disabled groups and competitive gymnasts, he brings the same level of energy and enthusiasm to everyone he coaches.
Stuart McCall and Jordan Richards
Stuart and Jordan are described as two ‘exceptional’ Ayrshire College students. Their work – which includes a Futsal lunchtime club at Irvine Royal Academy, a Football World Cup tournament at one Garnock Valley primary school and a ‘couch to 5k’
initiative at another – has ‘made a huge difference to the lives of many.’ Volunteering over 20 hours a week, they have also run a youth football team for the past three years.
AN expert in strength and conditioning training, John brings his knowledge and experience to help everyone from youth groups and older athletes returning from illness to local football and rugby teams. He also helps athletes competing at a national
level, including several with special needs, provides individual sessions to children with cerebral palsy, and impacts on his community by providing free places to aspiring athletes and running summer camps.
Young Coach of the Year
An exceptional technical coach, Lori gives up her time six days a week to teach community groups and schools and mentor other coaches and athletes. As well as being selected for national performance squads in Teamgym, she juggles her own competitive demands and studying for a science degree with a commitment to passing on her passion for the sport through her work at Irvine Bay Gymnastics Club and is one of the youngest level 3 coaches in her discipline.
Arran is a keen free-runner and uses these skills to coach Freestyle Gymnastics, as well as pre-school and disability gymnastics and is Head of Tumbling at Irvine Bay Gymnastics Club, at the age of just 21. Coaching hundreds of gymnasts every week, finding a way to get the best out of those he helps, and is a role model for other young people through his positive, encouraging outlook.
Douglas King Junior
Douglas teaches youngsters from age seven to 15 how to play darts, coaching those with different needs and disabilities alongside able bodied children. Giving up his spare time to volunteer in one of the poorest areas in Irvine, his work also passes on key numeracy skills and the younger children look up to him. As well as his work with the North Ayrshire Darts Academy, he recently won his first Scottish Youth Darts tournament and competes in the world youth championships next month.
Sports Ambassador of The Year
Amanda founded Irvine Bay Gymnastics Club in 2009, creating opportunities for gymnasts across Ayrshire and beyond. Coaching athletes to a Scottish and team GB level and involved in the sport at the highest level, she spends many weekends travelling to camps and competitions and has impacted on many lives, working hard to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, gender or ability have the opportunity to participate in sport.
Ian is a junior footballer who plays for Dalry Thistle. Every year he organises a charity football event in memory of his dad. Ian senior played for Ayr United and was left paralysed after a football accident, going on to referee youth football tournaments. Starting off as a one-off match, the fundraiser for the Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow has grown to have a semi-final and final, involving from kids to age 60. Ian has turned a negative into a positive, bringing together the local community in memory of his dad.
John was the Chairman of Townend Squash Club for 25 years, helping it survive through his ambition, enthusiasm and commitment to develop squash within North Ayrshire. He has encouraged local schools to participate as well as developed athletes with individual talent, including several who have played for Scotland, and a five time Senior men’s title winner. A qualified coach and referee, he is also the current President of West of Scotland Squash.
Jemma has taken the world of athletics by storm over the past 18 months, competing in the first ever Athletics World Cup live on SKyTV to a worldwide audience in her senior team debut, taking a bronze medal in the process. As well as competing all over the world at the age of 20 as a full time athlete with Nike training, she delivers free Q&A sessions in local primary schools with the Active Schools teams and gives a lot of time to support and develop young athletes at North Ayrshire Athletics Club. She is on course to be an Olympian at Tokyo 2020.
Young Sports Ambassador of The Year
Scott has trained and worked hard in his chosen field of athletics, breaking Scottish and British records twice in heptathlon and pole vault. Putting in hours each week training at North Ayrshire Athletics Club, he has medalled in every major even he has entered this year and represented Scotland at the Celtic games, where he won a gold medal. Appearing on BBC Scotland with his brother Aidan, he has raised the profile of the sport in North Ayrshire and nationally and encourages other people to take up sport and be active.
At the age of only 14, Aidan has already broken Scottish records in pole vault, despite only taking up the sport two years ago. He has also achieved national records in the discipline, as well as Multi Events. He was also the first Scottish winner of the England Athletics Octathlon. Despite receiving early media attention for his success, he is also a team player and encourages others to try their best, while being highly motivated to achieve and training with athletes older than himself.
A competitive Teamgym gymnast and British bronze medallist, Nicole has been in the sport since early childhood and is the face of ‘Girls Do Gymnastics’ – a national campaign from Scottish Women in Sport to highlight the positive impact sport has on girls lives. She has coached at National Disability camps, and is asked to work nationally in choreography, acrobatics and Teamgym. This she combines with leading many sessions through the week and at various venues in the local community for Irvine Bay Gymnastics Club – all at the age of just 18.
Becky Krystal Heaney
Becky is an inspirational individual who as well as representing her country personally, helps promote karate and general fitness in her local community and fundraise to help those less fortunate to train and compete in her chosen sport at the Irvine Takeda Club. All against a background of suffering from anorexia, a condition which doctors at one time warned was threatening her life. After she was admitted to hospital, Becky worked hard, achieving great results in her school exams and helping act as an inspiration to those around her also suffering from the illness. She is a fantastic example to everyone with her never give up attitude and ethos that taking part is an important as winning.
KILWINNING golfer Connie is one of the top talents in the game and won the leading honour in the domestic game last year. Crowned Scottish Girls champion and Scottish Schools champion in 2013, Connie went on to win the Girls Order of Merit, which she repeated in 2014 when she also won the Ladies Order of Merit. The Kansas State University student, who plays out of Troon Ladies, has added to her haul of titles on the other side of the Atlantic, winning four times. In 2017, she impressively claimed the Scottish Women’s Amateur crown and has represented Scotland.
Billy was born profoundly deaf and had a cochlear implant at the age of three. Now, 18 years on, he has been taking the skating world by storm, this year travelling to Colorado to represent GB in Inclusive skating. Starting skating at the age of 11, he first became involved after being trailed along to Auchenharvie Ice Rink with his three sisters and deciding if you can’t beat them, join them – embarking on a journey which led him to claim the Scottish, British and World Inclusive Skating titles. He is the current World No 1.