Preston student is one of two to win national award from professional sporting body

Posted on - 30th December, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, People, Preston News, Proud Preston
Sophie Warden

Two Edge Hill students, one from Preston, have won an excellence award from the professional body for the sport and physical activity sector.


Sports Coaching and Development students Sophie Warden and Charlotte Oakley, who both graduated with firsts, won the Edge Hill Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) Graduation Prize for their dedication and hard work.

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Sophie, who is now studying a Masters in Sport, Physical Activity and Mental Health at the University, said the award would be an invaluable help with her career progression.

The 23-year-old from Preston said: “I was absolutely over the moon to win this award; it is just the icing on the cake after graduating with a first.”


Sophie, who is a competitive 400m hurdler and president of the Edge Hill athletics team, was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder six years ago. But, determined not to let that stop her, she is in training for the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships in addition to her academic commitments.

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She has also completed an internship with the Rugby League Cares sport and health charity, helping to launch a new initiative called Beyond the Sidelines, thanks to Edge Hill’s Student Opportunity Fund.

Sophie said: “My anxiety makes me very hard on myself and the last couple of years have been particularly tough because of Covid-19. We all missed out on so much interaction, which was not the healthiest situation for me.

“But I focused on my studies and managed to get a first in every assignment and my interest in sport and mental health really developed as a result of my own experiences.

“I’d like to do a PhD next before hopefully working in sport and mental health, coaching in education or becoming a university lecturer, so this award will be a really great boost to help me start out in my career.”

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CIMSPA is the sports sector’s professional standards body which endorses Edge Hill’s sports development, management and coaching programmes, giving degrees an industry-recognised quality mark and driving student employability.

Sophie and Charlotte have won a year’s graduate membership with CIMSPA which includes access to resources, continuing professional development courses and networking opportunities.

Kenny Greenough, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Sports Coaching and Development, explained that Sophie and Charlotte were selected to receive the national awards – introduced by CIMSPA in partnership with Edge Hill as one of just 10 original Higher Education institutions granted degree endorsement – in recognition of their “excellent academic and work-related success”.

He said: “Sophie and Charlotte consistently achieved outstanding first-class marks in their studies and developed an excellent range of industry experience and employability skills by engaging regularly with placement and other work-related learning opportunities.

“They also excelled in their sporting careers, in athletics and hockey respectively, and we are extremely proud of all their achievements.”

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