Wushu competitor Sam Mak is the 2016 Derbyshire Dales Sportsperson of the Year
The Matlock martial arts specialist took the top award at the District Council's annual awards night on Monday after coming home from the 2016 European Wushu Championships in Moscow with two silver medals and a bronze representing team GB - the best return on the British team.
Sam beat last year's winner, Olympic trap clay target shooter Caroline Povey from Tansley, into second place as the winners in a variety of categories were announced at the Matlock Town Hall ceremony.
Because of other commitments Sam couldn’t attend on the night but posted on his Twitter feed:
“Thank you to Derbyshire Dales for the sports awards. Grateful to be recognised and sorry I couldn't be there in person.”
In the room were dozens of other Dales athletes competing at the very highest level across the globe in world championships, rubbing shoulders with unsung heroes who support grassroots sport and help their local clubs and teams to thrive.
The District Council organises the Sports Awards annually, and making the presentations was Chairman of the District of the Derbyshire Dales Councillor Tom Donnelly, who said:
"This event continues to showcase an astonishing range of talent and commitment from our elite athletes but, importantly, also dedicated Derbyshire Dales people who volunteer their own time to ensure our local clubs and sporting organisations survive and thrive."
Taking the Young Sportsman of the Year title was cyclist Cameron Orr, of Bonsall, who is supported by British Cycling’s performance pathway and races for the SRAM Youth Development squad in the U18 Category. Cameron was second overall in the international Youth Tour of Holland and competed for Team GB in the MTB World Championships in the Czech Republic.
Young Sportswoman of the Year went to skier Isobel Brown, of Norbury near Ashbourne. At only 16 Isobel has represented Great Britain at not only the Junior World Championships but also the Youth Winter Olympics.
Tideswell Running Club chairman Ben Brindley took the Unsung Hero – Service to Sport Award. In addition to his work with the friendly all-inclusive club of road, trail and fell runners, Ben ran seven marathons in seven days in July this year to raise more than £1,500 for Buxton Mountain Rescue Team.
PeaksUp Paddle Boarding won the Club of the Year title. Formed last summer with just three people, the club now has a membership of 40 and has gained affiliation to the sport's governing body, the British Canoe Union. With access to Carsington Water, the club has run beginner club sessions attended by more than 150 people to date. The club has also trialled three junior sessions at the Ashbourne Leisure Centre swimming pool.
The Team of the Year award went to Derwent Hockey Academy U14s, which finished runners-up in North League, beating sides from clubs who are higher up the league pyramid including Loughborough, West Bridgford and Belper. Eleven boys from the squad gained county honours representing Derbyshire, with four going on to represent the Midlands.
Stephen Greene was named Coach of the Year. Head coach of three Derbyshire Dales triathlon clubs and assistant manager of East Midlands Regional Development squad, Stephen also set up a kids' triathlon club in Ashbourne, attracting young people from across the county.
Volunteer of the Year went to Helen Watts, who works closely with all aspects of Baslow Sportsfield Trust, fundraising to keep the facilities and the Trust in good order. She manages and coordinates the walking football in Baslow and organised a junior football festival this year featuring almost 200 young players.
Grace Pickford was named Young Sports Leader of the Year. The Matlock Highfields School Sports Leadership Academy member has completed a level 2 Community Sports Leaders award this year and the level 2 Volunteering award. Grace has completed well over the 200 required hours of service and she was a Level 4 volunteer at the National School Games in Manchester and is volunteering again at the Loughborough Games 2016.