25th November 2022
Winners of the Sussex Sports Awards 2022 celebrate their win. Picture by snapitnow.co.uk
Winners revealed as former Strictly Come Dancing contestant and international basketball tournament celebrated
A paralympian, the founder behind an international basketball tournament, and a company offering free summer holiday activities to Ukrainian refugees were just some of those praised at this year’s Sussex Sports Awards.
Now in its 20th year, the Sussex Sports Awards celebrates those striving hard to get people in Sussex active.
The awards, organised by Active Sussex and hosted by BBC Sussex’s Tim Durrans, was held at Sussex County Cricket Ground in Hove on Thursday (November 24).
At least 100 people attended the event and seven awards were handed out.
Sadie Mason MBE, CEO of Active Sussex, said:
“It is important to celebrate the amazing initiatives, hard work and achievements that have been going on across Sussex.
“As always we were blown away by the quantity and quality of entrants this year and it was a hard decision for judges to make so the winners should be very proud.
“We would like to thank everyone who nominated people and organisations this year and we look forward to next year’s Sussex Sports Awards.”
The first award handed out was Active School of the Year, which was won by Little Common School in Bexhill.
PE at the school has been described as ‘exemplary’ and the school has achieved the East Sussex Healthy Schools Award with Excellence – the first school in the South of England to receive this.
The two finalists in this category were Thomas A Becket Junior School in Worthing and Southwater Junior Academy, in Southwater.
New this year was the Health Improvement Award, won by Dr David Fox and Kirsten Adams, from Hastings PCN.
The pair were nominated for their work in recognising the importance of physical activity for health and how it can support the reduction of health inequalities in Hastings.
Sussex Macmillan Nurses, based at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, and Lorraine Wilson, based at Worthing Hospital, were finalists in this category.
Freedom Leisure Healthy Communities Brighton & Hove won this year’s Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP Inclusion & Diversity Award in recognition of its unrelenting focus on inclusion and diversity during the past 12 months.
Other finalists included Defiant Sports, in Eastbourne, and Brighton Galaxy Girls Football Academy.
This year the Community Engagement Award went to South Coast Sports, based in Aldwick.
The company has been working hard to engage different sections of the community, including pre-schoolers, young girls and Ukrainian refugees.
Co-company director Ali O’Boyle said:
“South Coast Sports’ desire to collaborate with other like-minded organisations and individuals sets us apart.
“We are creative problem solvers and think outside the box. Meaning we are a force to be reckoned with and we will continue to drive positive change in our active communities.”
Runners up in this category were Active Worthing Wellbeing Centre CIC and Cancer United, based in Angmering.
Eric Douglin was named as Volunteer of the Year in recognition of his work organising the World Club Basketball Tournament, held in Hastings.
Eric managed to organise the televised tournament, which saw teams from the UK, USA, Lithuania, Italy, and Canada take part, despite having received life-saving surgery earlier in the year.
The two runner-up finalists for this category were Digna Baynes from Brighton Table Tennis Club and Andy Lindley who started Sands United FC Brighton & Hove.
Sussex is home to many outstanding sports personalities and this includes this year’s winner, Paralympian table tennis player and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Will Bayley.
Not only has the Peacehaven father-of-two won the Slovenia Open, Czech Open and Finnish Open in his international competitions but, more locally, for the first time he became the Sussex Closed mens champion.
This is the first time in the history of Sussex championships that a para player has become a champion in an able-bodied event.
Worthy finalists for this category included wheelchair racer Fabienne Andre, from Saltdean, and judo champion Isabelle Everest, from St Leonards-on-sea.
The final category of the night was the Outstanding Contribution to Sport & Physical Activity Award.
Although both Eric Douglin and Loretta Lock, from Defiant Sports, were worthy finalists it was Jackie Wood, a sports coach at Freedom Leisure in Brighton & Hove, who was named the winner.
Described as a ‘key mover and shaker for disability sport and inclusion’ Jackie is credited with creating physical activity opportunities for thousands of individuals over her long career.