Southport swimmer and Commonwealth medallist Holly Hibbott was honoured at an prestigious annual event – and well as being the guest speaker.
Almost 500 people gathered at Southport Theatre and Convention Centre on Wednesday to attend Sefton Sports Awards 2018.
Organised by Active Sefton in partnership with Sefton Sports Council , the awards celebrate volunteers, coaches, teams or individuals from across the borough who have been successful or shown great tenacity in their sport.
More than 100 nominations were whittled down to 53 nominees, all hoping to walk away with one of the prestigious awards.
Presented by BBC’s Mike Shaft, the awards recognised some of the borough’s unsung heroes many of whom dedicated much of their life to sport with little thanks or recognition.
This year’s awards welcomed guest speaker, 18-year-old Holly Hibbott, who had encouraging words of wisdom for local up and coming sports stars.
The Southport teenager, who has been swimming since she was three years old, became a double Commonwealth medallist earlier this year, where she won silver and bronze medals.
She was also part of the British team at the FINA World Championships in Budpast in 2017, and has represented Team GB at the European Games.
In her speech, she said: “It was great to be part of Team England and be part of the village and winning a medal was definitely the icing on the cake.
“My advice to others would be to work hard, do things to the best of your ability and have no regrets.”
For the first time since the Sefton Sports Awards began, 18 years ago, the guest speaker was also named as the Female Sports Personality Of The Year.
Holly was given the award as she dedicates her life to sport and spends more than 30 hours per week training, alongside completing college work and volunteering at Southport Swims’cool’ to inspire the younger generation.
Holly said: “It means a lot to win this award as a lot of other people who have won the award before have inspired me to do what I’m doing.
“It’s great to be recognised for my achievements this year and last year.
“I think it’s brilliant to be able to part of an event like this which celebrates peoples sporting successes across the year.”
Holly is now in the Target Tokyo programme and is hoping to compete in the Tokoyo 2020 Olympics.
The Male Sports Personality of the Year went to Southport golfer Tommy Fleetwood, who is looking forward to playing at The Open this week, after his superb performance at The Open at Royal Birkdale in his home town of Southport last year.
The 27-year-old, currently ranked number 10 in the world, performed very strongly at last month’s US Open, finishing second and posting a career-low round of 63 on the final day.
Everyone in Southport will be cheering him on as he bids to lift the Claret Jug this week.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, also attended the sporting event.
He said: “Each year I continue to be blown away by the achievements and dedication of both the winners and nominees.
“It is thanks to these people, clubs, teams and schools that grassroots sport has a place in Sefton and our young people are inspired and supported when following their sporting ambitions.”
SEFTON Sports Awards 2018 winners:
Primary School of the Year – St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School
Secondary School of the Year – Formby High School
Supporter of the Year – T.E.A.M Sefton
Club of the Year – Crosby Stuart JFC
Coach of the Year – Sid Siadankay (North Merseyside Amateur Boxing Club)
The Richard McGrath Award – Kyle Taylor
The Richard McGrath Special Award – Ann Taylor
Sports Club Volunteer of the Year – Lee Taylor (Sefton Sea Cadets)
Young Volunteer of the Year – Alexandra Webb (Winwood Netball Club)
School Team of the Year – Formby High Boys Junior Cross Country and Running Team
Team of the Year- Friends of Moorside Park Run Club
Junior Male Sports Personality of the Year – Sam Cooper, Competitive Dinghy Sailor, West Lancashire Yacht Club
Junior Female Sports Personality of the Year – Francesca Pivaro, Unite Martial Arts
Disabled Sports Personality of the Year – Tash Simpkin-Watkinson
Male Sports Personality of the Year – Tommy Fleetwood
Female Sports Personality of the Year – Holly Hibbott
Lifetime Achievement Award – John Henners
Services to Sport- Tina Pilkington