Bedford Sports and Physical Activity Awards 2023

Bedford Borough Council is delighted to announce the successful conclusion of the 29th annual Bedford Sports and Physical Activity Awards.

Awards ceremony

The awards ceremony was held on Monday evening, 11 December 2023, at Bedford Corn Exchange. This prestigious event is dedicated to recognising outstanding achievements in sports and physical activity within our communities. It showcased the remarkable talent and commitment of individuals, teams, and organisations throughout Bedford Borough.

The awards ceremony featured 13 categories, with 16 awards presented to deserving winners. These winners were selected from a pool of 119 nominees representing 39 different sports, such as tennis, tug of war, wheelchair racing, football and indoor bowls. The ceremony welcomed 390 guests, including 29 GB/England representatives, 10 World Championship representatives, and two Paralympic/Special Olympic representatives.

Councillor Sarah Gallagher, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, who attended the event, expressed their excitement about the diverse range of nominees and the incredible achievements within the community, saying, "The Bedford Sports and Physical Activity Awards have once again highlighted the exceptional dedication and talent present in our communities across Bedford Borough.

“It's inspiring to hear the stories of individuals and groups excelling in various sports, promoting inclusivity, and making significant contributions to the well-being of local residents. I would also like to give my thanks to the Bedford Borough Council Sports Development Team for organising such a wonderful and well-planned event."

Bedford Sports Awards winners 2023

For the full listings of the 119 nominations and their achievements please download the programme for the awards ceremony (PDF). 

We would like to say a massive thank you to our sponsors for your continued support.

Winners of the Sports and Physical Activity Awards 2023

Club of the Year – Bedford Cricket Club

Bedford Cricket Club being presented with award

Winner of the Club of the Year, kindly sponsored by Be Active: Bedford Cricket Club

The newly formed Girls U11-U13s team came first in the inaugural Bedfordshire Girls U11-U13 League.

Leanne George, of Bedford Cricket Club’s female coaches, won the Cricket Collective Award in the ‘Inspired to Play’ category.

The Junior U15 team reached the Regional T20 finals, getting through the semi-final to narrowly lose by 2 runs!

The Bedford Cricket Club’s Women’s Team reached the Super 8s finals in their first season playing hardball league cricket and came 3rd in the indoor softball league and finally the Men’s Sunday Team reached the Bedfordshire County Cricket League Premier Division play offs, having won Division 1.


Community Sport and Physical Activity Award - Kempston Park Indoor Bowls Club

Member of Kempston Park Indoor Bowls Club with award

Winner of the Community Sport and Physical Activity Award, kindly sponsored by Bedford Sports Foundation.

Kempston Park Indoor Bowls Club

Volunteer coaches offer weekly coaching to a variety of groups in the local community, with Open Days and sessions as part of the Active Adults programme. Kempston Park Indoor Bowls Club also offer a group for disabled bowlers, known as ‘Wheelstars’, with special adapted wheelchairs which allow everyone to bowl.

They offer bowls to those suffering from dementia and have a very active group of circa 25 who with their careers come weekly to bowl and have lunch.

Primary School of the Year - Livingstone Primary School

Representative from Livingstone Primary School with award

Winner of the Primary School of the Year, kindly sponsored by Times Tables Rock Stars.

Livingstone Primary School

Livingstone attend all school multi-sport competitions offered across the year, and also submit teams into all afterschool fixtures. This means a commitment twice a week usually until 6pm to allow pupils as many opportunities as possible to take part in physical activities, and as a lot of the children have no means of transport this requires dedication i.e., travelling by taxi each time.

They attend the county inclusive competition programme which allows their students with special educational needs and disabilities a chance to participate with other students with similar needs. Back at school, Active lunchtimes are encouraged through the use of Sports Leaders and a varied programme of extra-curricular activities offered.

Secondary School of the Year – Daubeney Academy

Winner of the Secondary School of the Year, kindly sponsored by Bedford Blues Foundation.

Daubeney Academy

Daubeney Academy offers an extensive PE provision both in and out of the classroom. Sports offered include Football, Rugby, Netball, Basketball, Tennis, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Athletics (In and outdoor), Cricket, Rounders, Fitness and more.

They also have inclusive offers to allow students who may have difficulty accessing the curriculum an opportunity to represent the school and develop their skills.

On top of that, they have introduced a student leaders programme which involves all students leading their year group and going out in the local community helping younger children develop PE skills too.

Young Volunteer of the Year - Lewis Knox

Lewis Knox with award

Winner of the Young Volunteer of the Year, kindly sponsored by Waitrose.

Lewis Knox – Football

Lewis is a keen footballer himself and at the start of the 23/24 season jumped at the opportunity to help the Head coach as a volunteer with coaching the newly-formed Shortstown Rangers FC U12s Dolphins Team.

Lewis attends every training session with the boys, as well as attending all games home and away to help with warmups and coaching. In addition to this Lewis has also stepped up and volunteers with our soccer school coaching our 4- and 5-year-olds when the coaches need additional help

Junior Disability Sports Personality of the Year - Sean Chigumba

Sean Chigumba being presented with award

Winner of the Junior Disability Sports Personality of the Year, kindly sponsored by Bedford Heights, Verve Developments Ltd.

Sean Chigumba – Wheelchair Racing and Basketball

Sean lives for sport. He started wheelchair racing two years ago and has already set club records in his category of disability for 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m.

He also plays basketball regularly in Milton Keynes and is a member of his age group national training squad.

His performances in wheelchair racing have also resulted in his selection for the England Athletics Youth Talent programme and a national ranking of first in the season's list in his category for 100m, 200m 400m and 800m. He also holds the club records for these events.

Adult Disability Sports Personality of the Year - Christopher Bradley

Christopher Bradley being presented with award

Winner of the Adult Disability Sports Personality of the Year

Christopher Bradley – Equestrian Dressage for riders with an Intellectual Disability.

Chris was born with a rare chromosome disorder with associated learning disabilities and is also autistic. Chris works extremely hard at his sport, training and tending his horses every day. He has had remarkable success in his equestrian career, overcoming many obstacles.

At this year’s Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Championship Chris won two Grade 7 National Dressage Championships. After selection for Virtus GB he came fifth at the Virtus Global Games in France and then surpassed this by being selected for the Special Olympics GB equestrian team for the Special Olympics 2023 World Games in Berlin, where he won gold medals in all three of his classes.


Junior Personality of the Year - Gracie Wall

Gracie Wall with her award

Winner of the Junior Personality of the Year, kindly sponsored by Rotary Club of Bedford Park.

Gracie Wall – Athletics

After returning from a serious back injury in Autumn 2022, Gracie is a high jumper with a personal best performance of 1.78 Metres, she is ranked third in the UK as an U20.

Gracie won a Bronze medal in the U20 Indoor Internationals representing England in Czech Republic and a Gold medal at the England U20 Championships, setting a new personal best. Gracie is 4th English Schools Champion and 7th in the British Senior Championships.

Gracie has been selected for the England U20 Internationals and also onto the England Athletics Youth Talent Programme, with the goal of selection for the 2024 World Junior Championships.

Special Commendation for the Junior Personality of the Year - Lola Bracey

Lola Bracey with award

Special Commendation for the Junior Personality of the Year

Lola Bracey – Football

In January Lola set up a petition to get more girls playing football in schools. This petition hit over 60k signatures and Lola won a national award - The Lionesses Legacy Award - Let Girls Play.

Lola loves football and at her Girls Club has recently won the Midfielder of the Year award. Lola works hard at football training and playing seven days a week. Lola plays for a girls under 11s team, a boys under 11 team, she is also a member of her school football and futsal team.

Lola is currently working to organise a two day tournament next year which she hopes all Schools in Bedford will be a part of.

Team of the Year - Bedford Ladies Tug of War Team

Bedford Ladies Tug of War Team with award

Winner of the Team of the Year, kindly sponsored by the University of Bedfordshire.

Bedford Ladies Tug of War Team

Building on the success of 2022, Bedford Ladies Tug of War team competed at the English National Championships in Yorkshire this June, where they won all four weight classes (500,520,540,560kg).

In August they attended the British and Irish Championships in Scotland, bringing home three Gold and one Silver medal. The season culminated with them competing at the World Championships in Switzerland, where they were placed fourth.

The Team now have their sights set on qualifying for the 2024 World Championships in Germany. If they make the top four at these championships they'll be selected to represent Great Britain at The World Games in China in 2025.


Special Commendation for the Team of the Year - Shortstown Rangers FC U9s Sharks

Coaches of Shortstown Rangers FC Sharks with award

Special Commendation for the Team of the Year

Shortstown Rangers FC U9’s Sharks – Football

Shortstown Rangers U9s is a team that has progressed massively since forming as a new team after lockdown in 2021. It consists of team players and training members; children aged 8-9 years, both boys and girls.

There have been many achievements; the team formed from scratch, coming together with some of the players being very new to football. All skills, techniques and teamwork needed developing; of which all players assertively took on with confidence and determination.

One of the team's biggest achievements collectively to date is being crowned tournament winners and bringing home a trophy (the first piece of silverware for the club) in May 2023

Unsung Hero Award - Adnan Khan

Adnan Khan being presented with award

Winner of the Unsung Hero Award, kindly sponsored by the Harpur Trust.

Adnan Khan – Football

Adnan's commitment to the Queens Park Crescents FC has elevated football in Queens Park, helping establish 10 teams in the community including a youth set up and development team.

Adnan has invested countless hours into Queens Park Crescents, on top of his day job, being Club Secretary, organising the adults’ teams, dealing with the finance and even set up the pitches and ensuring all kids that a kit.

He made football affordable to the kids by looking for funding from charities and sponsorship as the club is founded in the most socially deprived area in Bedford.

Special Commendation for the Unsung Hero Award - Steve Hawkins

Family of Steve Hawkins with award

Special Commendation for the Unsung Hero Award

Steve Hawkins 1959-2023 – Hockey

Subscription Officer, Clubhouse Renovator, Grounds Maintenance, Assisting the Club House and Sideline Supporter, Steve was one of those unsung heroes who just go on and did, without fuss or bother. People saw the end result of his labour but not the hours and hours of time, talent and energy that went into it.

Steven was one those rare jewels that every club longs for, but whose worth isn’t always fully valued until they are no longer there. A man of immense talent who, has left his mark on the very fabric of Bedford Hockey Club and a cavernous loss with his passing.

Coach of the Year - Hayley Mackellar

Hayley Mackellar with award

Winner of the Coach of the Year, kindly sponsored by the Bedford College Group.

Hayley Mackellar – Netball

Hayley is a level 2 coach, as well as coaching and mentoring coaches at all seven age groups at Team Beds Netball Club she has been instrumental in leading coaching at Bedfordshire County.

Hayley has also progressed to coaching at the highest levels within netball coaching at Netball Super league for Severn Stars and Internationally as the Scotland U21 Head Coach, this included taking the squad to the commonwealth games and more recently working with the Scotland Senior squad.

Adult Personality of the Year - Steph Daniels

Steph Daniels and friends with award

Winner of the Adult Personality of the Year, kindly sponsored by Jewson Partnerships Solutions.

Steph Daniels – Hockey

Steph played County Hockey as a school girl, however returned after a 40 year gap joining Walking Hockey, which she still participates in twice a week.

Steph then progressed to the Back to Hockey Course and then onto Bedford Hockey Club’s Ladies’ 7s. She has now attended trials for the England Women’s Over 70s squad and been invited back for further training sessions. She is also a regular player for the Bedford Hockey Club in the East Women’s Division 6 South West.

Service to Sport Award - Neil Frankel

Neil Frankel being presented with award

Winner of the Service to Sport Award, sponsored by Bedford Borough Council.

Neil Frankel – Tennis

Neil has worked tirelessly for Riverside Tennis Club over the past 25 years firstly as Coaching Director for 20 years of this time and now as Disability Tennis Manager.

He has developed a highly valued disability programme at Riverside through the LTA Open Court Programme. Neil coaches Gary Cox, an elite quad wheelchair tennis player and is supporting him throughout his performance journey as he progresses through World Rankings.

In 2023, Neil was recognised by the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire for his services to the community. The award recognised the appreciation of Neil's services and his contribution in enhancing the life of the community specifically through our Open Court Disability Programme at Riverside.

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