The Northern Echo: Local Heroes Awards 2014

Celebrating its 15th Anniversary, The Northern Echo Local Heroes Awards has grown to be the region’s premier grassroots sports awards

Local Heroes celebrates, recognises and rewards achievements in grassroots sports, giving our local heroes a night to remember.

The Northern Echo: Local Heroes Awards

As well as discovering the region’s most talented sports people, Local Heroes identifies and rewards those people who work behind the scenes. Often they do it for the love of it, and dedicate their lives to grassroots sport, without receiving any recognition.

Nominations have now closed for The Northern Echo Local Heroes Awards 2014. The finalists will be announced soon!

The awards categories and nominees are as follows:

Award for Remarkable Achievement (Senior)
sponsored by Northumbrian Water

Special Achievement award for overcoming obstacles or personal difficulties in order to achieve a specific goal or purpose be it sporting achievement or ‘extra curricular’ activity i.e. fundraising.

Kez Greenwood
At the age of 37, Kez was diagnosed with dilated cariomyopathy (an enlargement of the heart), and was told he needed a heart transplant to survive. Ten months after his transplant, he competed in his first British Transplant Games, winning gold medals in shot, discus and javelin and has won a host of medals at British, European and World Championships.

The Northern Echo: Jane LishmanJane Lishman
A horrific accident in 2006 led to keen horse rider Jane having both her legs amputated. Determined to ride again despite being confined to a wheelchair, Jane waited for two years before securing a place at the RDA Unicorn Centre in Middlesbrough. Using a specialist mounting hoist, she has won a succession of medals at the Riding for the Disabled Association National Championships.

Liz Lawson
Liz, 71, took up martial arts after she was attacked in a row five years ago. She immediately proved something of a natural at the martial pursuit, and in September, she earned her black belt and is believed to be the oldest martial art black belt in the North-East.

Award for Sporting Excellence (Senior)

This award will be given to an individual who has achieved a significant level of success at national or international level, or has demonstrated a consistently high quality level of performance over a season within their sport at county level or above.

Stuart Hall
Stuart became only the North-East’s second ever world boxing champion when he claimed the IBF World Bantamweight title last year. He retained his title in March, but was beaten by Paul Butler in his second defence in June. Last month, he became the first North-East boxer to fight for a world title overseas when he suffered a narrow defeat to Randy Caballero in Monte Carlo.

Richard Kilty
At the start of 2014 Teesside sprinter Richard became World Indoor champion over 100m with a series of sensational indoor sprinting displays. His 2014 outdoor campaign did not quite go as planned, but he still made the semi-finals of the 100m at the Commonwealth Games and won a European gold and Commonwealth silver as part of Britain’s 4x100m relay squad.

Katy McLean
Katy skippered England’s Women’s side to victory in the Rugby World Cup final in France. The fly-half has won more than 65 international caps, and this year’s World Cup triumph, with England beating Canada 21-9 in the final, represented the pinnacle of a career that began when she wanted to emulate her dad, who played for Westoe.

Sir Bobby Robson Leading Light Award
sponsored by Virgin Money

This award will be given to an individual who has demonstrated over time their commitment to, passion for and achievements in any sport at any level in the North-East. The individual will be seen as a role model by those in their sport and will have led by example, demonstrating the positive impact sport can have on those people, communities or sport he/she has worked with over time.

Karl Wharton
Karl is the founder and a volunteer at Deerness Gymnastics Academy, who has dedicated over 25 years of his life to supporting youngsters and growing the club into one of the most successful in the world. He has coached hundreds of gymnasts more than 100 of whom have represented Great Britain. More than 80 have won medals, with seven crowned as either European or World champion.

Sue Campion
Sue is in her 27th year volunteering for Middlesbrough Amateur Swimming Club. She has filled a number of roles at the club, and is currently the chairperson as well as a coach of the disability and masters squads. Having originally got involved when her children were six and seven, she has remained involved for more than quarter of a century.

Dave Parnaby
Formerly a PE teacher for 22 years at Longfield Comprehensive in Darlington, Dave is now the head of Middlesbrough Football Club’s academy. He has been responsible for overseeing the recruitment and development of hundreds of young North-East footballers, 45 of whom have gone on to play for Middlesbrough’s first team.

Award for Unsung Hero (Senior)
sponsored by BMI Woodlands Hospital

The person working ‘behind the scenes’ of a club, team or scheme. This person will not be the one who claims all the glory but their role is crucial and without them the club, team or scheme would not be the same. Behind the scenes of every club or team is someone who does the crucial jobs that are often taken for granted. Groundsmen, scorers, secretaries, treasurers, or organisers.

Beverley Longthorne
Beverley has been instrumental in the development of Thirsk Junior Hockey Club, coaching youngsters as well as filling the roles of Thirsk Junior Hockey Co-Ordinator and secretary of the North Yorkshire Hockey Development Group. She has been a key factor in the club growing from around 24 junior members to in excess of 200, and has developed a number of links between the club and local schools.

John Morton
John, from Bishop Auckland, and has been involved with grassroots football for 44 years. In his role as a Durham FA councillor, he is involved in the referees’ committee, lending vital support to individuals, teams and leagues in South-West Durham. He spent 27 years on the committee of the Northern League, and continues as secretary of the Wear Valley Sunday League and has held various other administrative roles across the region’s leagues.

Eric Powell
Eric has dedicated 50 years of service to grassroots football, including scouting duties for the likes of Everton, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Middlesbrough. Eric has also been the driving force behind the North Riding FA for more than four decades, helping to organise and oversee some of the most popular local leagues in the country and raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Award for Team/Club of the Year (Senior)
sponsored by Tees Barrage

Presented to the team or club who have pulled together, shown support, solidarity and co-operation through good times and not so good times in order to achieve results. The sport doesn’t matter, we’re simply looking for a team, big or small, that’s shone throughout the sporting year.

Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club
Founded in 2012, Bishop Auckland Table Tennis Club is now one of the biggest table tennis clubs in the North-East with 80 active members. The club has picked up more than 25 individual titles and players have also competed in the National Junior League and National Cadet League.

Darlington Mowden Park
Their men’s first team achieved promotion to National League One last season, their women’s team play in the top-flight, and two of the club’s players – Katy McLean and Tamara Taylor – represented England as they won the World Cup final in France. Next year, they will welcome the All Blacks as they use Darlington as a training base ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Sunderland Ladies
The Lady Black Cats were given a place in the newly-formed FA Women’s Super League 2 in March – four years after they were overlooked for a place in the top flight. The club won the title last month to win promotion, losing once all season.

Award for Remarkable Achievement (Junior)
sponsored by Tees Active

Special Achievement award for overcoming obstacles or personal difficulties in order to achieve a specific goal or purpose be it sporting achievement or ‘extra curricular’ activity i.e. fundraising.

Mitchell Singh
Having suffered from severe chronic asthma since he was baby, Mitchell’s sporting options have always been limited. However, he took up boxing to help tackle his weight and two years on he has lost five stones in weight, won six of his nine fights and competed in the North-East ABA finals.

Lewis Maguire
Lewis, 16, from Richmond was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and even though he was receiving chemotherapy treatment earlier this year, he returned to play for his school team and helped them reach two cup finals.

Drew Turner
Drew, 11, from Durham discovered she had Cystic Fibrosis when she was 18 months old. She currently has to take more than 40 tablets a day, but she has always loved football and she has not allowed her illness to stop her playing. Four years ago, she played a game despite feeling unwell, and doctors subsequently discovered she had continued playing with a partially collapsed lung. However, she was back on the field within a few months.

Award for Sporting Excellence (Junior)
sponsored by County Durham Community Foundation

This award will be given to an individual who has achieved a significant level of success at national or international level, or has demonstrated a consistently high quality level of performance over a season within their sport at county level or above.

Emma Peters
Emma, 16, from Cleadon, is Britain’s Junior number one in the Winter Olympic sport of ski cross. After claiming the junior crown at the British Championships earlier this year, she took part in the senior competition at the same event and duly finished second. She also finished 18th at the World Junior

Amy Tinkler
Amy is 14 and from Bishop Auckland. She won the all-around and floor titles at this year’s British Junior Championships this year, as well as claiming silver on vault and bronze on the beam. She then helped Great Britain win silver at the Junior European Championships and won an individual silver medal on the floor and a bronze on the vault.

James McMeekin
James, 14, from Auckland Park, Bishop Auckland, is a member of Shildon Amateur Boxing Club. James is comfortably the number one boxer at his age and weight in the country. In April, he claimed his third successive national title and then claimed the Three Nations title. This year also saw him compete as the only North-Easterner at the European Schoolboy Championships in Hungary.

Award for Most Promising New Talent

This award will go to a star of tomorrow, not necessarily involved in their chosen sport for a long time, this youngster will have shown great talent and promise for the future.

Darcey Garbutt
Darcey is nine and from Darlington. She finished second in the regional qualification event for the national finals in South Tyneside. She won the northern semi-final in Sheffield, and became British champion in the 8-10 age group at the national finals in Telford. She is hoping to be named in the next British national squad for her age category, and is a prospect for the World Championships in 2017.

Emily Bearpark
Emily, 13, from Reeth, began diving at Darlington’s Dolphin Centre when she was six and won four national medals in the sport before she was 11. Last December, she competed in her first international event in Canada, finishing sixth out of 23 in the platform event despite being one of the youngest competitors. In May, she competed in the British Junior Elite Championships in Plymouth, winning three silver medals and a bronze.

Sadie Abel
Sadie, 14, from Fishburn, has enjoyed a breakthrough year in the sport of pentathlon as, in June, she claimed her first British title. Competing in Solihull, she won the Under-15 title at the British Youth Modern Pentathlon Championships.

Award for Team/Club of the Year (Junior)

Presented to the team or club who have pulled together, shown support, solidarity and co-operation through good times and not so good times in order to achieve results. The sport doesn’t matter, we’re simply looking for a team, big or small, that’s shone throughout the sporting year.

Bishop Auckland St Mary's Juniors
Over the last year, St Mary’s has increased to 20 junior teams, with 300 players catering for boys and girls between the ages of 3-18. At the end of last season, the club had three teams attend the Teesside Junior Football Alliance presentation night as either league champions or runners-up and a further four teams also took part in the TJFA finals day at Rockliffe Park, with one coming away as Challenge Cup winners.

North Riding Eagles Girls Volleyball Team
Based in Stokesley, this is an under-18 team made up of players between the ages of 14 and 18. However, because of a lack of competition in their age group, they had to enter the Yorkshire Premiership this year, competing against adult sides. They went on beat adult clubs from Hull, Leeds and Bradford, and university teams from York and Sheffield to win the league. They also won the National Play-Offs and the Yorkshire and North-East cups.

Durham Amateur Rowing Club Junior Section
2014 has been the most successful year in the history of Durham’s junior section. Durham’s junior rowers won 70 events at a regional or national level this year, including the under-18s boys eight winning gold at the National Junior Club Championships in July and the under-18s girls eight winning bronze at the National Schools Head of the River Championships.

Local Hero 2013
sponsored by The Northern Echo

Selected from the winners of the above categories.

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