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Sporting heroes honoured in Hambleton

Published on Friday, 3rd November 2017

Winners of sport awards 2017

Hambleton’s sporting heroes have been honoured for their commitment to sport.

Eight awards were made in the annual Hambleton Sports Awards – marking achievements in everything from golf, hockey and boccia to running, swimming and football.

“The quality and volume of the nominations is always overwhelming  - every year it is harder and harder to pick out the winners,” said Council Mrs Bridget Fortune, Portfolio Holder for Leisure Services.

“I find it very humbling that we have so many gifted sports stars and talented coaches and volunteers in Hambleton - who give up their time to help them and their clubs.  The awards allow us to give them the praise they so richly deserve. “

Organised by Hambleton District Council with support from North Yorkshire Sport, awards went to:

  • Sportsperson of the Year: Marc Scott, running
  • Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Mark Gracey, Boccia
  • Inspired for Sport Award: Neon Nights Community Running Group
  • Junior Sportsperson of the Year: Oscar Knowles, golf
  • Coach of the Year: Nathan Fisher, football coach
  • Volunteer of the Year: Beverley Longthorne, hockey 
  • Club of the Year: Northallerton Amateur Swimming Club
  • Team  of the Year: Thirsk Hockey Club Ladies 1st Team

Special guest Paralympic gold medal winning rower,  Laurence Whiteley MBE from Northallerton was interviewed by award host BBC Tees presenter Scott Makin.

Full details on the winners:

Marc Scott from Northallerton:  Marc has seen a massive breakthrough in his running career in the last year. Based in America for much of his time he became the National Collegiate Athletic Association 10,000m champion. He followed that by being selected to represent GB in the European Team Championships in Lille where he finished 2nd in the 3,000 metres; took part in a Diamond League event, running against Mo Farah over 3,000 metres, finishing 12th; and running in World 5,000m Championships in London.

Mark Gracey from Northallerton: Marc is a gifted Boccia player who only started playing in 2016 and is now ranked 8th in the UK in his classification. He has represented Hambleton Boccia club in the regional league, and represented North Yorkshire in two special Olympics.

Neon Nights Community Running Group: the group was the brain child of Amanda Piper, after she recognised there was an increase of people taking up running around Northallerton. Amanda identified a need for safety in numbers and to offer a broader variety of running opportunities.  The group now has over 110 members, with 20 -30 runners meeting regularly in Northallerton twice a week.

Oscar Knowles from Thirsk: Oscar, was nominated predominantly for his achievements in golf but he is also a keen cricketer. In May, he competed in the US Kids Golf European Championships representing Great Britain where he finished as number one British boy. Throughout 2017 he managed to gain his official Men's Handicap of 27 and has been selected to play in team matches for his home club, Thirsk and Northallerton Golf Club - the youngest junior to have represented the club in its history. He was also selected for the North Yorkshire under 9s cricket team and trained with Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s under 10s development team.

Nathan Fisher from Bedale: Nathan is a coach with Bedale Junior Football Club. As a semi-professional footballer he joined the Bedale club to get more involved in the local community. As coach of the under 14s team he saw them win their division in the Teesside Junior Football Association league - winning 19 and drawing one of their 20 games.  He also pioneered the toddler sessions at the club by creating the Bedale Bumble Bees for 3 to 5 year olds and delivers holiday camps throughout the year.

Beverley Longthorne from Thirsk: Bev has been involved with Thirsk Hockey Club for over 30 years, starting as a player and now as the club’s junior co-ordinator for the last 19 years. In that role she has provided the driving force that has taken the club from just a few dozen juniors to the present over 300 that now take part on a regular basis. She is a fully qualified level 2 coach, a level 1 umpire and is a club first aider.

Northallerton Amateur Swimming Club: this club has been a driving force promoting swimming across Hambleton for the last 56 years, and recently the club has taken major steps to improve its position as a competitive club. It works closely with all the local schools, promoting and assisting the school's galas with many senior swimmers going on to secure employment within leisure centres.

Thirsk Hockey Club Ladies 1st Team: this season has seen the team achieve the highest ever position of a Thirsk Hockey Club team. After finishing top of the Yorkshire Premier League, winning 16 of their 22 games, scoring 99 goals and only giving away 38, they were promoted into the North Division 2 South-East. The team has also been nominated for England Hockey’s Ladies Team of the Year 2017.