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North East Awards a great success

News Presenter Ian Payne hosted this year’s North East Disability Sports Awards, held at The Durham Centre on Tuesday 26 February. The Awards recognised and celebrated achievements of participants, coaches and clubs from across the region.

Over 140 guests attended the celebration, including three times Paralympic champion Stephen Miller. Six sports awards were presented at this year’s celebration.

Jean Lordon, Executive Director of Tees Valley Sport said:

"These awards are a fantastic way to celebrate the successes of our disabled sports stars in the North East, particularly so soon after the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The awards are also a great opportunity to acknowledge some of the excellent work that clubs, organisations and volunteers do in the region.”

The event was organised by the regional County Sports Partnerships and supported by the English Federation of Disability Sport. The sponsors were- D&P Trophies, Future Sport, House of Type, Metro Rod North East and Transforming Culture.

The results of the awards were as follows:

Female Personality sponsored by House of Type – Gayle Bloomfield

In 2012 Gayle was successful in a number of dressage categories. She became the British Dressage Senior Talent Spotting Champion, British Dressage Para Festival of Dressage Grade II National Restricted Champion, British Dressage Para Home International Team Champions and the British Para Championships Grade II National Restricted Champion. She also achieved RDA National Champion Grade II, RDA National Champion Grade II music and RDA National Supreme Champion. In November of last year she was invited to compete at the Para International 3* in Hong Kong where she finished 5th.

Male Personality sponsored by Transforming Culture – Terry Bywater

Terry began playing wheelchair basketball at age 13 for the Teesside Lions and became part of the GB setup in 1993 with the under 23's. Since then he has gone on to represent Great Britain at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics and also won bronze in Beijing 2008 as well as numerous European medals. In the 2011-12 season Terry played for Sheffield Steelers who finished in 4th in the league and was part of the gold medal winning European Championships team. Last summer Terry was selected for the Paralympics and played in all games in London 2012. While they were not able to come away with a medal, Terry top scored for GB and now has his sights set on Rio 2016.

Young Female Achiever sponsored by Future Sport – Stephanie Moore

Stephanie Moore has had a successful year in the pool representing Great Britain at the World Indoor Championships and European Championships, as well as the Learning Disability National Championships. At the Worlds she achieved personal bests in the 60 & 200m with 4th & 5th places respectively however the highlight of her championships was winning gold in the 4x400m relay. Stephanie went on to compete at the INAS European Athletics Championships in Sweden, where she won three silver medals in the 100m, 4x100m and 4x400m. At the national championships she set a new 100m personal best of 13.34 seconds to win the gold medal and also secured a bronze medal in the 200m.

Young Male Achiever sponsored by Future Sport – Josef Craig

Josef Craig is the Paralympic champion in the 400m freestyle S7 and won BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year 2012. At London 2012 Josef came into the S7 400m freestyle race with a personal best time of 4:54.23. He led from the turn of the first 50m and never dropped that position. He touched in a time of 4:45.79 lowering the World Record by some three seconds. He then went on to the final and won the gold medal with a perfectly paced race which would be expected of a more senior swimmer smashing his own world record in the process by a further three seconds.

Club of the Year Award sponsored by Metro Rod North East – Tees Rowing Club

Tees Rowing Club has offered the opportunity of adaptive rowing to all members of the public for several years. Take up was initially slow but the introduction of a new lead adaptive squad coach two years ago and a different outlook to the sport has seen Tees RC become the leading club for adaptive rowing in the North East, with 10 athletes now taking part. The club offers recreational and competitive rowing for its athletes and there is also a 2 tier structure so both groups have access to their own coach. As testament to the success of the programme Tees RC currently has two British National and European Indoor Rowing Champions, two British water National Champions and in November four athletes attended the GB open adaptive trials.

Service to Sport Award sponsored by D&P Trophies – Liz Starrs & Glynis Hansen

Liz Starrs and Glynis Hansen have been involved in Hartlepool Sportability Club since it was founded 25 years ago; ensuring that disabled people in Hartlepool who want to play sport can do so. The club, which has over 80 members, runs a number of recreational and competitive programmes and has close links with other local clubs involved in sports such as badminton, netball, tennis, table tennis, water sports and cycling. This year the club ran an Olympic Challenge which gave all members the chance to try up to 15 different sports, brought the Olympic and Paralympic spirit to the club and raised £2,000. Glynis and Liz spend long periods of time hunting for funding that enables the club to continue its work. They have also ensured that disabled people can have their say in how the club is run by encouraging members to sit on the committee.