Sporting heroes from across the borough were honoured at a glittering event this weekend.
The annual South Ribble Sports Awards saw the great and the good of the sporting community gather together to celebrate their talent and dedication.
The big winner of the night was Leyland Barracudas Amateur Swimming Club, with members scooping no less than four awards - including the coveted Community Club of the Year.
The prestigious event, held at the Leyland Hotel, was organised by South Ribble Borough Council, and sponsored by South Ribble Community Leisure. Now in its 12th year, it continues to go from strength to strength, with more nominees entering this year than ever before.
Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Mick Titherington, said: “What an honour it was to be able to attend the South Ribble Sports Awards ceremony and meet such a fantastic group of people.
“I was truly proud of everyone there and what they have achieved. Those people who turn up week in, week out, dedicating their time and energy to their sport, are what makes South Ribble such a great place. They are setting a fantastic example for their communities and through their dedication and passion for sport, they inspire the whole borough.
“I also want to pay tribute to work the council’s sports development team is doing with these groups and promoting physical activity within the borough.”
The event raffle raised more than £350 for the Lewis Balycki Trust – a charity set up in the name of a former Rising Star award-winner whose life was tragically cut short when he was killed in a cycling accident.
Winners of the South Ribble Sports Awards 2017
Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Frank Halliwell
Frank was awarded the prestigious honour for his outstanding contribution to football in the Walton-le-Dale area over the last 40 years. Frank also volunteers within the local community, especially at Higher Walton where he is well-known.
Adult Volunteer of the Year
Winner: Vicki Pickup
A former competitive swimmer at Leyland Barracudas ASC, and club member for 22 years, Vicki has developed into an extremely effective team manager, organising three teams for the club. Vicki is instrumental in nurturing the development of the club and motivates very young swimmers into confident teenage competitors.
Coach of the Year (sponsored by University of Central Lancashire)
Winner: Keith Schofield
Keith puts in a minimum of 10 hours a week at Chorley Buccaneers American Football Club – and that doesn’t include the time he spends answering enquiries, travelling to tournaments, fundraising, or extra coaching sessions. There is a place for everyone on his team and he acts as mentor to all the coaching staff, while also running taster sessions at local schools and clubs.
Community Club of the Year
Winner: Leyland Barracudas ASC
The club has more than 40 volunteers and a clear ethos to encourage participation in swimming and develop a passion in their members by entering competitions.
The Lewis Balycki Rising Star Award
Winner: Pia Murray
Pia has risen from being a talented age group swimmer at Leyland Barracudas ASC to a national champion and potential Olympian. She has showed not only her athletic potential, but her ability to understand race craft.
Primary School of the Year
Winner: St Oswald’s Catholic Primary School
St Oswald’s commitment to sport, PE and competition is reflected in their regular participation in the school games finals, representing South Ribble in the Lancashire Athletics finals for the last four years and finishing in the top three schools in Lancashire on several occasions. They have a wide PE curriculum and have achieved the Youth Sport Trust Quality Mark and School Games Gold award for the last two years.
Secondary School of the Year
Winner: Lostock Hall High School
Lostock Hall has excelled in PE and sport over the last 12 months with a clear focus on opportunity for all. The school also contributes to the wider sporting community, assisting in the running of major events and tournaments for local clubs and primary schools.
Services to Disability Sport Award (sponsored by Eric Wright Group)
Winner: Andrew Whitaker
Andrew was recognised for his work with the Lancashire FA Pan Disability Football League, based in Leyland. He has grown the league and helped to establish a structure for disability football. It not includes opportunities for schools, colleges and the community to participate in disability football.
Team of the Year (sponsored by Roundhouse Properties)
Winner: Leyland Warriors Rugby Club U14s
The team has gone from strength to strength over the past four years following the decision of coaches Gary and Chris to join forces. They were undefeated throughout their first competitive league season including an incredible nine game clean sheet run.
Young Volunteer of the Year
Winner: Katie Wood
Katie was a swimmer at Leyland Barracudas ASC, but became keen to support the club on the pool side rather than in the water. She began volunteering at the age of 14 and qualified as a swimming teacher at 16-years-old. She is often the first teaching point of contact for newcomers at the club and her commitment and experience has resulted in more than 120 young swimmers progressing from the small pool.