Bedford Sports and Physical Activity Awards 2022

Bedford Borough Council has announced the winners of this year’s Bedford Borough Sport and Physical Activity Awards.

Row of trophies

The awards ceremony returned to Bedford Corn Exchange on Monday 5 December. There were 280 attendees and Ellie Rattu was guest speaker. The awards are presented by the Bedford Borough Council Sports Development Unit on behalf of Active Bedford. The 15 awards are sponsored by many local companies and organisations.

They recognise the achievements of individuals and groups performing in local sports. As well as individual prowess they reward the loyal, selfless work that enables others to experience enjoyment and fulfilment in sports and physical activity. Nominations were invited from local clubs, schools, county governing bodies and members of the public.

Cllr Doug McMurdo, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said “The Sports and Physical Activity Awards, supported by a range of local companies, recognise and celebrate the contribution of individuals, clubs and coaches locally. I personally want to thank them all for their much valued contributions and participation – thank you!

“These Awards really do demonstrate the incredible provision of sport we have locally, along with the commitment and work of coaches, clubs, schools and volunteers to help our athletes be their best.”

The judges represent a range of local and County organisations associated with sport and physical activity together with the awards sponsors, partners and local coaches. The merits of each individual or group application were judged according to the criteria listed under each category heading. Prizes were awarded to each category winner.

Group photo of the Sports Awards 2022 winners

Full list of 2022 winners:

Winner of the 2022 Club of the Year

Bedford Hockey Club

It has been a fantastic year for Bedford Hockey Club with 14 adult teams finishing strongly in middle to high table positions. As well as this, a number of club members have been successful in other areas. Including 4 gold medal winners at the Master’s World Cup. As well as members playing for Wales over 40s and Coaching for Ireland in the over 55s. Bedford Hockey Club have also supported the development of hockey by ensuring, ‘Hockey for All’ – establishing a wide variety of teams for different age groups and genders. The club has also helped establish a Hockey Development Centre aimed at 12 – 18 year olds.

Winner of the 2022 Community Club/ Group of the Year

Bedford Walking Football

One of the most successful walking football clubs in the country,  Bedford Walking Football passed the 20,000 mark for attendances this summer in this its 10th anniversary year.  It has also raised over £5000 for local charities since 2016. Multiple generations have also attended with teenagers playing as well as over 80s! A flourishing Ladies’ section has developed, creating a sporting activity for all members of the community. Volunteers have assisted in the running of sessions; all volunteers are accredited and checked. Bedford Walking Football has gone from strength to strength gaining sponsorship and sustainability.

Winner of the 2022 Primary School of the Year    

Great Denham Primary School

Daily activity for classes have been introduced plus there are also greater opportunities for increased physical activity at break and lunch times through the introduction of zones such as table tennis, skipping and different sports on offer each day. As well as girls and boys football so girls get their own days each week to increase participation. The school have bought in sport specialists in to model lessons to the teachers as well as teachers visiting PE teachers in other schools for training. There are sports fixtures 3 - 4 days a week for children in year 5/6. Staff constantly promote the importance of exercise on wellbeing of children and staff. The school also brings in external coaches for more bespoke sports to expose children to different opportunities such as boxing, street dance rugby and more.

Winner of the 2022 Secondary School of the Year    

Goldington Academy

Goldington Academy strives to provide every pupil with the best opportunity across a wide range of sports. They pride themselves on their broad curriculum and offer over 20 extra-curricular activities! Goldington Academy have specialist teachers for a varied number of sports including football, cricket, rugby, dodgeball, basketball, table tennis and netball, which allow pupils to excel and reach their full potential. The leagues they compete and excel in are to a high standard. For example, their current year 11 netball team play in the Premier Division. Also, their staff have very strong sporting backgrounds with county, regional and even national sporting success. Due to their specialist teachers, Goldington Academy allow their teams to improve and win numerous awards/tournaments. As a school Goldington Academy have just received their platinum award for 'Sports Mark's which helps portray their dedication and commitment to improving teams.

Winner of the 2022 Junior Disability Sports Personality of the Year        

Varun Bandi – Wheelchair Racing

Varun has made rapid strides in wheelchair racing and has overcome setbacks. Earlier this year he was involved in an accident with a van which resulted in a fractured leg. He recovered well and with and since then he has trained and competed extremely hard. He trains with the club twice a week and then goes out by himself on other days. Varun is ranked in the top 5 in the country in 100 metres, 200 metres and 800 metres. As a result of these impressive performances, he has been selected by England Athletics to join their Youth Talent Programme. He certainly has the motivation to succeed. He has grown in confidence and has developed into a role model for his peers.

Special Commendation for Junior Disability Sports Personality of the Year        

Sean Chigumba – Wheelchair Racing

Sean joined the Bedford club in May this year. His progress has been remarkable to the extent that he has subsequently been setting personal bests in a range of distances. He has overcome his disability to perform at a high level. He has quickly become involved in competitive racing in a very short period of time. After only two months since taking up the sport he won the 200m at the BWAA Grand Prix series at Stoke Mandeville. He is so inspired that he has started fundraising to enable the acquisition of a purpose built chair which inevitably will see his performances rapidly improve.

Winner of the 2022 Adult Disability Sports Personality of the Year        

Gary Cox – Tennis

Gary is a wheelchair user and sport has played a significant part in his rehabilitation by focusing on what he can achieve on the tennis court. Gary trains four times a week, including one session at Loughborough University His accolades for 2022 have been: National finals quad singles champion, National finals quad doubles champion, Grantham National series singles champion, Grantham national series doubles, Champion Lee Valley national series singles champion, Abington ITF futures doubles champion. Gary’s goal is to break into the GB squad for Quad tennis, there is still work to be done and Gary is aiming for more training time and match analysis to help work towards achieving his goal

Winner of the 2022 Junior Personality of the Year        

Eloise Cole – Swimming

During 2022, Eloise has achieved numerous accolades for her swimming. Beds ASA County Championships; 8 individual age group Golds; 7 Junior (U16) Titles; and 4 Senior (Open Age) Titles. Top Overall Swimmer Award for her age group. East Regional Championships; 5 age group Golds; fastest overall female in the 50m Fly. Top Overall Swimmer Award for her age group. Qualified and completed at Senior Championships, including the British Championships (Commonwealth Trials) in April. East Region’s Winter Senior Championships; Bronze 50m Back; 4th in the 50m Fly. Eloise trains for 15 hours in the pool per week, swimming an average of 35,000 meters over a 49-week season. Her achievements have been recognised by Swim England (NGB) and she has been selected onto their Elite Pathway Programme. She is currently ranked in the top 5 for her age in the UK in 6 events.

Winner of the 2022 Young Volunteer of the Year

Kai Williams – Golf

Kai is our Junior Golf Captain and a member of the England Golf/Golf Foundation Young Ambassador's group. He attended the English amateur Championships were he offered a junior perspective on flagship events and was at the BMW championship where he took over the Golf Foundation's social media channels to offer his take on one of European golf's most important tournaments. Kai uses his social media connections to talk frankly about issues in the game affecting younger players, what can be done to encourage more players from the black community to take up the sport. He has been asked by England Golf to manage a Project for them next year. He is very enthusiastic and a great ambassador for our Club 

Special Commendation for Young Volunteer of the Year

Stephen Ames – Junior parkrun

Stephen has been attending Bedford junior parkrun since it was launched in Jan 2017, he has volunteered 67 times, in 9 different roles. As a volunteer he is required to be at Jubilee park by 8:30am on Sunday mornings and he is usually first there, ready to help get the equipment out and set up. Volunteering at Junior Parkrun has been very beneficial in both ways, for Junior parkrun and for Stephen, he has achieved a level of confidence that we would have never thought possible, and he now has the skills to help set up a community event. Stephen is an integral part of junior parkrun.

Winner of the 2022 Sports Team of the Year

Bedford Ladies Tug of War Team

Bedford Ladies Tug of war, competed in the English National Championships in June which qualified them to represent England in the World Championships in Holland in September where they just missed out on a bronze medal in the 500kg weight category.

In August the team competed in the British and Irish championships in Swansea winning gold in the 520kg weight. The team had qualified at the previous World Championships to represent Great Britain in the World Games in Alabama, USA in August 2022. Once again the ladies came 4th in the world in the ladies’ event. They also competed in the Mixed 580kg (4 men + 4 women) and won the gold medal. The Ladies constantly look to promote their sport and bring new people into their sport through links with Young Farmers, supporting school sports days, utilising social media, local radio and both ITV and BBC local news.

Winner of the 2022 Unsung Hero

Dave Parratt – Hockey

All Dave does for Bedford Hockey Club is voluntary - Club Accountant, BHC Committee member, Sports & Hockey Centre Committee member, ground/building/equipment maintenance, assisting in the clubhouse, unlocking/locking the venue if required, fundraising, the list goes on. Being a Men’s veteran player (in his spare time), means he understands the requirements of hockey in terms of equipment and appreciates the needs of the club from a player’s perspective. Dave has been a member of BHC since the 90s and was a dedicated supporter of the youth development team in the early 2000s. The words of a fellow player wonderfully sum up Dave’s motivation: “A quietly driven club member who seeks no recognition other than seeing the fruit of his labours in such a thriving Club.”

Winner of the 2022 Coach of the Year

Steve Vinnicombe – Golf

Steve is the Lead Coach for both Men’s & Ladies County Teams who have both had stellar seasons. The colts team went undefeated in the league for the first time. Steve has helped nurture the talent of several youngsters this season culminating in his clients winning Bedfordshire County Championship's at the following age groups U12, U14, U16, U18 & U21. He also coaches the U16, U18 Schools champions and has seen 5 clients elevated to the England regional squad for selection. A further client has been selected for the England U18 team to represent the Country at home internationals, 2022 saw Steve awarded the PGA Captaincy for his services to Bedfordshire & Cambridgeshire PGA. Steve also runs inclusive coaching sessions for all ages & abilities to attend, including disabled golfers, blind golfers and people with learning difficulties.

Winner of the 2022 Adults Personality of the Year

Ellie Rattu – Netball

Ellie has had a fantastic year in Netball. She has played for London Pulse in the Super league finishing in 3rd place. Ellie was also selected to play England 'A' against Jamaica in preparation for the Vitality Roses test series before being selected for the full-time England Roses programme. Ellie has balanced work as a teaching assistant with travelling to London 3 times a week to train and play. Additionally, she has been studying to be a counsellor and completed her Level 3 qualification. Showing great determination and commitment. Ellie also volunteers as a guest at clubs or schools running coaching sessions. She has been an ambassador for London Pulse at events and will undertake a community role with them from December.

Winner of the 2022 Service to Sport

Su Felce – Swimming

Su volunteers at Modernians Swimming Club in her time she has been Secretary (2014 - 2018), Welfare Officer (2007 - 2014), Swimming Teacher, Swimming Coach (2011-2020) and a Team Manager. Su gave up multiple weeks travelling numerous times across Europe and the UK to support swimmers on residential training camps. Her endless passion to support volunteering also extends to tutoring adults to become volunteer Team Manager. Su also volunteers for the county governing body for all Aquatic disciplines and is currently President of Bedfordshire ASA, County Welfare Officer since 2014, coordinating the Swim England County Talent Pathways, Team Manager at County Development Camps plus assisting selections for National events.

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