THE eighth annual Get Berkshire Active Awards ceremony took place to celebrate sporting excellence across the county as well as applauding the unseen work that goes on behind the scenes to make sport and physical activity happen.

Awards were also made to the schools, community groups and workplaces that put physical activity and wellbeing at the forefront of their objectives.

Brett Nicholls is CEO at Get Berkshire Active and said: “It’s such a joyous and inspirational evening and our opportunity to thank all those who make sport and physical activity possible in Berkshire.”

Thirty-seven individuals and organisations were shortlisted for the eighth annual awards.

The Sports Personality of the Year award went to Daniel Atkins – a kayaker from Reading Canoe Club.

Four exceptional Berkshire individuals were shortlisted in the Junior Sports Personality of the Year award with joint-winners announced for the first time – Emily Murphy (football) and Charlotte Payne (hammer and discus).

Four remarkable personalities were presented with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement award. These were Gary and Kathy Critchlow-Smith (archery), Hazel Syrad (swimming) and Brian Greenham (kayaking).

Royal Borough Observer:

The new Young Volunteer of the Year award highlighted the work undertaken by young people in the county to recognise the new generation that support event and help make Berkshire more active.

Manjit Birk is the leader of the Goodgym Slough, the winner in the Physical Activity for Health category. She said: “It was a brilliantly organised event with a great atmosphere. All the lead up efforts certainly showed and made it a lovely night out.

“Goodgym Slough are elated to have received our award. It will certainly be a night we remember for a long time.”

Coach of the Year award winner Nigel Frankland added: “What a night. It was such a great atmosphere and so good to share it in the company of friends.

“I was proud to be nominated and deeply honoured to be shortlisted. I confess to being somewhat shocked when I discovered I had won ahead of others that I consider to have done awesome work.

“Thanks to everyone involved for organising such a memorable event.”

Mike Diaper is a senior representative from Sport England who attended the awards ceremony in the Hilton Reading and presented the Youth Engagement award. He said: “I really enjoyed the awards and was very impressed by the quality of the nominations and the winners.

Royal Borough Observer:

“They really showcased the different sport and physical activity can make and indeed the excellent work the Get Berkshire Active partnership does day-in and day-out.”

Three award categories were decided by public vote this year; Active Primary School, Active Secondary School and Community Club of the Year. The others were determined by an expert panel.

A raffle on the night raised around £1,300 with proceeds split equally and donated to CLIC Sargent and the Stroke Association.

The 8th GBA Award winners:

Junior Sports Personality of the Year Award – Emily Murphy and Charlotte Payne

Sports Personality of the Year Award – Daniel Atkins

Youth Engagement Project of the Year Award – Me2Club

Young Volunteer of the Year sponsored by Everyone Active – Abbie Jones

Volunteer of the Year – Alison Ford

Coach of the Year Award sponsored by Field Seymour Parkes – Nigel Frankland

Physical Activity for Health Award – GoodGym Slough

Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Michael Burbridge Creative – Brian Greenham, Gary and Kathy Critchlow-Smith, Hazel Syrad

Team Performance of the Year sponsored by Places Leisure – Kick Twist Cheerleading

Community Club of the Year sponsored by the Berkshire Unitary Authorities – Woodley United Football Club

Active Primary School sponsored by Playtime by FAWNS – Radstock Primary School

Active Secondary School sponsored by Playtime by FAWNS – Reading School