What a night! The sporting year celebrated at big bash

Brighton Phoenix's Archie Davis. Pictures: Stephen D Lawrence Photography
Brighton Phoenix's Archie Davis. Pictures: Stephen D Lawrence Photography

A Brighton-based business, two local individuals and a football club were all crowned winners at the 14th annual Sussex Sports Awards.

The event was held at The Grand Hotel, Brighton, last Friday and welcomed special guest and five-time Olympian, Jo Pavey MBE, along with regular host BBC Sussex presenter Danny Pike. Both were on hand to offer their congratulations to all winners on what was another highly successful Olympic and Paralympic year for Team GB and Sussex athletes.

David Bowden receives the outstanding contribution to sport award. Picture: Stephen D Lawrence Photography

David Bowden receives the outstanding contribution to sport award. Picture: Stephen D Lawrence Photography

Stelfox won the Active Workplace Award. During lunchtimes at Stelfox, free yoga classes are held on the company’s roof terrace and it also has a custom-made boardroom table which doubles as a ping pong table for daily tournaments. A team from Stelfox also completed the Ultramarathon. With only six weeks training, the team raised more than £2,000 for Mind and the MacMillan Trust by running 100k from Richmond in London to Brighton.

None of the runners had ever completed a 10k race let alone this distance before. Despite this they finished in the top 20 per cent of entrants.

The winner of the outstanding contribution to sport award was David Bowden of Sussex County Cricket Club. He has played a key role in recreational cricket across Sussex spanning nearly 50 years.

Among his many achievements, Bowden founded and chairs Brighton & Hove Cricket Development Group which consists of clubs, schools and council reps with a remit to grow the game across the city. He previously managed the city ‘Chance to Shine’ project, giving thousands of children the opportunity to experience cricket across Brighton and Hove.

Stelfox receive the Active Workplace award. Picture: Stephen D Lawrence Photography

Stelfox receive the Active Workplace award. Picture: Stephen D Lawrence Photography

Archie Davis won the young sports personality of the year award.

Davis, of Brighton Phoenix, has risen to dizzy heights in the national under-20 rankings – despite being at the bottom of the age group as a 17-year-old.

He came second at 800m indoors, first at 1,500m indoors, and second at 1,500m outdoors. He recorded the fastest-ever time by a British 17-year old over 800m indoors and, while still only 17, he represented Great Britain in the under-20 World Championships in Poland.

Withdean Youth Football Club were crowned the club of the year, which was the only award decided by the public vote.

Among the many achievements made by Withdean this year was securing Charter Standard Club status, resulting in 23 qualified coaches going from Level 1 to UEFA B licence holders.

They were also awarded Sussex FA Charter Standard club of the year in 2016 and invested £1,000 for pitch maintenance and new goals at Balfour School.

Team GB Olympians and Paralympians, fresh from competing in Rio, were also in attendance to inspire the attendees. Each were awarded with the Sussex Sports Awards ‘special recognition award’. They were Seb Rodger, Amy Wilson Hardy, Ben Jesson, Faye McClelland, Heather Olver, Jade Lally, Jess Walker, Katie-George Dunlevy, Pete Mitchell, Simon Munn and Steve Scott.

Sadie Mason MBE, Active Sussex chief executive said: “I’d like to congratulate everyone at Stelfox and both David and Archie on their wonderful achievements this year.

“This brings down the curtain on what has been another highly successful year for, not just British sport, but also Sussex sport and our competitors. We were all engrossed in what has been the most enthralling Olympic and Paralympic Games for Team GB in modern history.

“This, of course, featured a wealth of Sussex-based sports stars. The awards ceremony rewards quality, achievement, determination and commitment to those involved in sport across the county. They can now use this as a platform on which to build for further success in competitions throughout 2017.”

The sports personality of the year award went to Katie-George Dunlevy, who won cycling gold at the Paralympics competing for Ireland.

Other winners – community impact award: Coach of the year: Kim Milnthorpe. Disabled sports personality of the year: Simon Munn. Unsung hero: Jim Burroughs. Volunteer of the year: Helen Courtney. Young volunteer of the year: Emily Goss. Team of the year: Heartbeat United FC. Young team of the year: Worthing RFC Colts (under-17s). Primary school of the year: Lyminster Primary School.

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