- Tuesday, 16 October 2012 12:08
Olympian Annie Last took the top prize at the Derbyshire Dales Sports Awards on Monday evening, organised by the District Council.
Twenty-two-year-old Annie, from Great Longstone, received the Derbyshire Dales Sportsperson of the Year Award from Chairman of the District of the Derbyshire Dales, Councillor Tony Millward, at a ceremony at Matlock Town Football Club.
Despite still not being old enough to officially compete in the elite category of her sport, Annie took a superb eighth place in the women's mountain biking competition at the London 2012 Olympics and has been ranked as high as fifth in the world.
The awards also recognised the hard work and commitment of volunteers, leaders, coaches and clubs - and the popular winner of the Unsung Hero – Service to Sport Award went to John Thompson - currently in hospital recovering from an operation - for his impact on sport in Wirksworth over the past 50 years, particular at Wirksworth and Middleton Cricket Club.
Ashbourne's Sally Benn won the Volunteer Coach of the Year Award. Sally, who is the Junior Organiser at Ashbourne Golf Club and a PGA Level 1 coach, has developed links in recent years with local primary schools through the School Sports Partnership. Sally said after receiving her award:
"Because this is a volunteer award the real joy is having all the time and commitment acknowledged and recognised in a public arena. Volunteers don't get paid because they are worthless - they don't get paid because they are priceless."
Matlock Highfields School student Emma Erskine took the Junior Sportswoman of the Year title for the third year in a row after winning two silver medals in the Junior World Kick Boxing Championships held in Frankfurt in Germany and a silver medal in this year's British Senior Women's Kick Boxing Championships.
Matlock sailor Joshua Haynes beat his brother Ben - also a talented sailor - to become Junior Sportsman of the Year. Both were nominated, but it was Joshua - the first British sailor in the International Optimist Class Association Development Team and the Derbyshire Youth Sailing Series Overall Champion - who picked up the prize.
The Veteran Sportsperson of the Year award went to Nicola Dick, a triathlete from Monyash, near Bakewell, while the Club of the Year award went to Darley Dale Junior Football Club, which has given more young footballers a chance to play through the innovation of a Saturday Soccer Club, a new under 23s' side and a girls' team.
Matlock Town Junior Lions Under 15 Boys won the Derbyshire Dales Junior Team of the Year and the joint winners of the Community Sports Project of the Year were Matlock Community Orienteering Club and Wirksworth and Middleton Cricket Club Pavilion Project.
Matlock Highfields School students Deborah Greer and Abigail Akehurst shared the Derbyshire Dales Young Female Sports Leader of the Year award and a former Highfields student Sam Heath, who has coached football at Matlock Town, took the Young Male Sports Leader prize.
Attending Monday's event were a number of Olympic and Paralympic Torch Bearers from the Dales, including Olympic mogul skier Ellie Koyander, Highfields student Sarah Needham, Frances Dalrymple-Smith from Bakewell, Highfields PE teacher Jayne Allen and Megan Mosedale from Ashbourne.
Vice Chairman of Derbyshire Dales District Council's Communities Committee Councillor Jo Wild said:
"It was great to witness an evening of celebration and success that showcased the incredible talent, motivation, determination and commitment of people who live in the Derbyshire Dales. These words epitomise the people who are involved in sport in our communities.
"2012 has been an incredible year for sport and I know the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Olympic Torch Relay all touched people who live in the Derbyshire Dales. The District Council was proud to coordinate that incredible day at the end of June when over 50,000 people lined the roads in our district to watch the torchbearers run with the Olympic Flame through the towns."