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Preston winners celebrated at Active Lancashire Awards

Posted on - 28th November, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Competitions, Preston News, Proud Preston, Sport
Preston Pirates with Cllr Michael Green
Preston Pirates receiving their award from Cllr Michael Green

Preston Pirates BMX Club has scooped the Club of the Year trophy at this year’s Active Lancashire Awards.

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Individuals, community groups, schools and businesses from across Lancashire were celebrated at the event, which took part at Ewood Park in Blackburn on 17 November.

Preston Pirates BMX Club is the largest of its kind in the North West, and aims to provide riders with confidence, social skills and improved wellbeing. Since it was founded in 2005, the club has supported countless people of all ages and levels to gain the confidence and skills to ride competitively. The club has over 100 members with this continuing to grow, especially among young female riders.

Jon Powell, a volunteer at the club and Head of Enterprise and Innovation Services at Lancaster University, said: “I was absolutely delighted for Preston Pirates BMX Club to win club of the year at the glitzy Active Lancashire awards last week. It’s testament to all the amazing committee members, volunteers, and of course the riders, that come together to make Preston Pirates such an amazing inclusive and fun community.

“We need to create opportunities for people to connect and engage with sport, and Preston Pirates are leading the way with their evening and weekend sessions for riders of all ages and abilities. And that increased pipeline of talent is leading to success on and off the track. It is fantastic to get this recognition for the club from our community. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the Preston Pirates crew.”

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The club were presented with their trophy by Cllr Michael Green, Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing and Active Lancashire board member, with the category sponsored by design agency Designidge.

Preston Pirates BMX on stage interviewed by host Fiona Sadler
Preston Pirates BMX on stage interviewed by host Fiona Sadler

The 21st instalment of the event was attended by over 300 people from across the county. Previously known as the Lancashire Sports Awards, the event celebrates the hard-work and dedication displayed by nominees towards local health, inclusion, community cohesion and sporting achievements.

There were over 100 nominees in the running to win an award across nine categories. Alongside the nine winners, judges decided to award seven other nominees with Highly Commended runner-up trophies due to the high calibre of nominees.

Most attendees were finalists, having already won local events run by district partners in Blackburn, Blackpool, Burnley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Rossendale and South Ribble, whereas people from other boroughs – including Preston – applied directly.

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Preston resident, Sharon Bolton, picked up a Highly Commended trophy for Coach of the Year for her work as Head Junior Coach at Preston Hockey Club, investing countless hours into making the sport accessible to children from diverse backgrounds.

Sharon was awarded her trophy by Rachel Brown-Finnis, former Everton, Liverpool and England goalkeeper and TV pundit, originally from Burnley. Rachel was invited to the awards as a VIP guest and took part in a Q&A session midway through the event.

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Team Kickabout CIC, another Preston-based club, were also honoured with a Highly Commended Health and Wellbeing Trophy in recognition of their consistent efforts in organising inclusive football sessions. Established by Graham Sims in 2018, the club plays a pivotal role in promoting the health and wellbeing of local fathers.

Graham Sims (centre) and Team Kickabout CIC members
Graham Sims (centre) and Team Kickabout CIC members

The event was made possible with the support of a number of businesses, including headline sponsor Interfloor. Several other Lancashire-based organisations sponsored categories within the awards ceremony, with representatives from each business attending to present winners with their awards.

In addition, sports apparel company Icon hosted a drinks reception with a complimentary glass of prosecco and free Holdens ice-cream voucher for every guest.

Rising singer-songwriter Jemma Johnson and award-winning magician Zanda Magic provided entertainment to guests during the event. Guests also enjoyed games such as indoor archery and mini golf on arrival courtesy of Rossendale Works, an employment service run by Active Lancashire on behalf of Rossendale Council with UKSPF Government Funding.

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Adrian Leather, Chief Executive of Active Lancashire, opened the event alongside Gary McEwan, HR and Business Improvement Director from Interfloor, who also sponsored the Primary School of the Year category.

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Adrian said in his speech: “Through these awards, we take immense pride in championing individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds and abilities, all bound together by their unwavering dedication to physical activity. Each nominee is, in their own unique way, an ambassador for the positive impacts of an active lifestyle.”

As well as celebrating the efforts of finalists, the awards raised over £1,000 for the British Red Cross Gaza appeal through a raffle, with prizes donated by Booths, Active Cycles and Active Images.

More photos from the event and a video broadcast are available to view on Active Lancashire’s Facebook page.

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