The annual Waltham Forest Feel Good Sports Awards, highlight of the borough’s sporting calendar, took place on Thursday 22 November at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall.
A selection of the borough’s most talented athletes, dedicated coaches and inclusive sports clubs were nominated by the general public in recognition of the work they do to promote sport and physical exercise in the borough.
The star-studded event featured a drinks reception and performance of amazing table magic from award-winning Michel J Fitch, the host for the evening, before guests were formally welcomed by Waltham Forest Cabinet Member for Health and the Voluntary Sector Cllr Naheed Asghar as the awards got underway.
Cllr Asghar said: “It’s an honour to be here for another year as we celebrate some of the fantastic achievements of local athletes – as well as recognise the coaches and clubs who enable them to succeed.
“Exercise and physical activity isn’t just about keeping fit and healthy. It’s about being part of a community, meeting new friends, and pushing yourself to be the best that you can. There are so many great clubs in the borough to join, many based in one of our range of high-quality leisure centres - so whether you’re revisiting old skills or starting something you’ve never done before there’s never been a better time to get involved with sports in Waltham Forest.”
There were fourteen award categories to be celebrated on the evening – the winners in each are bolded below.
Junior Team of the Year: Under 11s
Handsworth Tag Rugby Team
Lime Academy Larkswood Athletics Team
Greenleaf Primary School Girls Table Tennis Team
At the start of September 2017, the girls of Greenleaf Girls Table Tennis Team had not picked up a table tennis bat before. By October they found themselves competing against other schools in Waltham Forest and managed to win every game of the Waltham Forest heats and finals! The girls were runners-up at the London Finals after giving up their lunchtime breaks to practice two or three times per week to improve their skills, and they also qualified for the South of England Finals where they finished fourth.
Junior Team of the Year: Under 18s
Leytonstone School Y11 Girls Basketball Team
Borough of Waltham Forest Swimming Club (Gators)
Woodford Rugby Under 15
This team of girls consisting of Jodie Hull, Ella Remyn, Amy Allison & Stephanie Pagan competed for the first time in the National Open Water Swimming Championships this year, swimming between 2k to 5k.
Sports Person of the Year: Under 16
Rosie Rallings is a dedicated synchronised swimmer who started in 2012. At the Nationals last year Rosie achieved 8th place out of around 140 girls in figures - this result meant she was able to attend trials for the England Age group squad. Rosie represented England in Croatia this year winning silver and has also represent her county in Seville.
Young Sports Leader / Volunteer of the Year: Under 16
Fergus Strelley Jones
Kyrill has been a fantastic volunteer in the past season at the hockey club - helping to coach young players, umpire youth matches, and coach adult beginners as well as going above and beyond to progress his Duke of Edinburgh award. Kyrill volunteers regularly at youth sessions, in particular assisting with the Under 10 boys group.
Malcolm Doolin Special Award for Sporting Primary School
Greenleaf Primary Academy
Malcolm Doolin Special Award for Sporting Secondary School
Chingford Foundation School
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for School Games has presented a special award over the last few years to the Primary and Secondary School that has embraced the physical activities and sporting opportunities available, and demonstrated a commitment to enhancing students wellbeing through this.
Earlier this year Malcolm Doolin, a founder member of the LOC, sadly passed away and the LOC felt that his dedication to sport should be recognised and have therefore renamed the awards as the Malcolm Doolin Special Award for Sporting Primary and Secondary School.
Volunteer of the Year
Maria has built a community group that engages, empowers and strengthens young people. Maria has enabled over 200 young people to access, train and compete in dance during the last year. Maria works tirelessly for over 50 hours every week just to ensure young people of Waltham Forest can access the LEADERS programme.
Sportsperson of the Year
Toby was invited by Cerebral Palsy Sport to join their England team in August at the World Games against 21 other countries in Barcelona. Toby progressed through the heats to reach the finals in the 100m and 200m. He finished 5th in the 100m and 6th in the 200m. He was also part of the England 4x100m relay team at the games and finished 2nd.Toby competed in the Cerebral Palsy National Championships in Doncaster and won gold in both the 100m and 200m.Toby is currently ranked 3rd in the UK at 100m, and 5th in the UK in his T38 disability category.
Inclusive Sports Award
Forest Crusaders Futsal
Sport For Confidence
East London RaceRunning
Sport For Confidence a programme that deliver a comprehensive programme for adults with additional needs within the borough. The programme started in October 2017 and has grown rapidly offering tennis, swimming, boccia and even dance - anything can be arranged with the team at Sport For Confidence! The health and social benefits for attendees is beyond what anyone expected.
Sinead Kelly, the Occupational Therapist responsible for the Sport for Confidence programme at The Waltham Forest Feel Good Centre, said: “The model of practice we have created enables those who face barriers to participation to engage in physical activity, regardless of their ability. This is an environment where individuals are treated as individuals and supported to overcome any obstacles so that they can reach personal goals and milestones.
“Many of our participants have never set foot in a leisure centre before coming to us, so it is fantastic to see them enjoy being active and making the most of the services and facilities on offer.”
Physical Activity & Health Project
Hornbeam Joy Riders
Sir George Monoux College
Waltham Forest Falls Prevention Service
In the past 12 months Hornbeam Joyriders have delivered family rides of up to 50 people, upskilled volunteer Ride Leaders, and led two Tour De Waltham Forest rides.
With 118 ride participants over 12 months, 87 Cycle Skills trainees recruited through community outreach, and 41 people hiring or buying their own bikes the project’s success is clear for all to see.
Adult Team of the Year
Forest Crusaders Ladies Futsal Team
Olympia Handball Club – Men’s Team
The Chingford club has been around for over 80 years and this season has seen them achieve promotion to the National League for the first time in their history. This is a huge achievement for the players, members and coaching staff. The club is committed to growing the game at grassroots level, and will continue to go from strength to strength after such a fantastic season.
Coach of the Year
Joint award: Aaliyah & Steven travel to Chingford every week to teach young people of Waltham Forest commercial street dance. Both are highly skilled and accomplished performers and this has directly contributed to the success of the LEADERS programs by inspiring learners with their amazing skill, talent and encouragement. Aaliyah & Steven educate and advocate awareness regarding the benefits of engaging in a physical activity and the long-term outcomes. Both help build confidence and self-esteem, and empower those learners who remain body conscious.
Club of the Year
Inspire Trampoline Academy
Phoenix Flames Netball Club
King George Sailing Club
Inspire Trampoline Academy have in the last 12 months upskilled junior coaches with British Gymnastics, completed in many regional & national competitions including the London Youth Games, and provided opportunities for Waltham Forest residents of all ages to take part in trampolining. Inspire have also delivered various satellite clubs in local schools across Waltham Forest and continue to build and grow as a club.
Outstanding Services to Sport
John has worked in outdoor sports for the past 30 years as a coach specialising in kayaking, canoeing and off-road biking. Most importantly he is a key member of the Leaside Trust, a charity providing outdoor education primarily to young people. John is selfless in his commitment to the club and its members. In times where funding is hard to find, John has voluntarily given up his paid employment and instead has offered his services voluntary to help the club maintain its ability to provide low cost activities to young people.
In addition to the awards, two athletes whose dedication and determination has bought them great success were inducted into the Waltham Forest Sport & Leisure Hall of Fame:
Inducted into Waltham Forest Sport & Leisure Hall of Fame
Finally, two local schools were awarded the Platinum School Games Mark, two of only 47 in London, a government-led awards scheme launched in 2012 to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community.
School Games Mark
Chingford Church of England Primary
Enjoy a selection of images from the evening here (photo credit: Jenna Selby)