The Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire Sports Awards unfolded on Thursday 24 October, at Edgbaston Cricket Ground where professional and amateur sportspeople, as well as teams and volunteers, gathered for the glittering affair.
After more than four months of lead up to the night, the finalists within the 13 different categories finally found out if they had done enough to add another trophy to their collection. Fronted by two sporting greats, Gary Newbon MBE and Gail Emms MBE, the night was the guests’ opportunity to temporarily ditch the sport kit and enjoy a night of celebration.
The Champagne flowed all night long as winning star names were commended for their contribution to professional sport including Chris Woakes who played a vital role in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, when he took three wickets to cement England’s place in their first World Cup final since 1992. He took home the Professional Sportsman of the Year Award and was followed by Professional Sportswoman winner Amy Jones. Amy, a wicket-keeper for England, was recently selected for England’s opening match in the Women’s Ashes and following her debut, judges felt she has an even brighter future ahead of her.
Jones is currently playing for the Perth Scorchers Women in the Women’s Big Bash League, whilst Chris Woakes continues to work on his England programme ahead of the November Test series in New Zealand.
Part of Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire Sports Awards’ biggest draws is its focus not only on those competing at the highest level, but those rising through the ranks. And this was emphasized through a number of award categories on the night, including Amateur Sportsperson of the Year which Para-swimmer Tully Kearney triumphed in. It was her remarkable journey back into international swimming which landed her the prize and you can read more about it later in this supplement.
Wasps netball’s Fran Williams, who was recently called up to play at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, represented the younger generation as she won the Young Sportsperson of the Year accolade.
Other winners included Birchfield Harriers Senior Men’s Team in the Community Team of the Year, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith in the Manager/Coach of the Year and innovative organisation It Takes Balls to Talk in the Wellbeing in Sport category.
Years of sporting achievement were also praised on the night as prolific cricketer Jonathan Trott accepted the acclaimed Lifetime Achievement Award. While collecting the award, presenters detailed how the batsman contributed to three consecutive Ashes wins throughout his international playing career and praised his commitment to his local club Warwickshire with whom he represented for 15 years.
On the night money was raised for the official charity partner, The Lord’s Taverners, whose country-wide sports programs positively benefit disadvantaged and disabled young people. Such fundraising was done through ticket sales of the popular charity game, stand-up bingo. After rife competition it was Matt Willoughby who won the prize of two Nights of French Riveria Luxury, kindly donated by Development manager, Tom Warner from The Lord’s Taverners.
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