Sporting achievements were celebrated last night (10 May) with West Oxfordshire District Council and its leisure provider GLL presenting awards to the District’s top sportspeople.
Swimming made a big splash with Witney & District Swimming Club announced as the Club of the Year and their Head Coach, Chantal Clavaud, taking the Coach of the Year honour at ceremony held at the Windrush Leisure Centre in Witney.
Nicola Mellings, Chair of Witney & District Swimming Club, said: “I am proud that the efforts of our enthusiastic, dedicated and committed volunteers are being recognised with these awards. Our volunteers give a significant amount of their time and expertise to enable our family-friendly club not only to function, but to grow, develop and succeed.”
Chantal added: “This was a huge surprise. I love the sport and have been a swimmer since I was 10 years old. We spend a lot of time together as a team and this award recognises the hours we put in and the time away from home.”
The Club has 170 swimmers aged between six and 18, with 13 competing at a regional level and six in national competitions.
The Unsung Hero award went to Mick Widdows, a groundsman at Chipping Norton & District Cricket Club. He was nominated for maintaining an excellent cricket field standard for the teams to play on, as well as carrying out maintenance work at the club all year round and in all weathers. He even opens the the bar on Fridays.
Youth Co-ordinator, Sue Powell, said: “He has been doing this for longer than I can remember and gets little thanks, but we couldn’t manage without him. Long may he continue.”
Cllr Jeanette Baker, Cabinet Member at West Oxfordshire District Council said, “I am continually amazed by the depth of sporting talent we have in the District and the wide variety of sports represented here tonight. These awards are our opportunity to recognise the achievement of so many individuals and the support given to them by others, including their clubs and volunteers who work so hard behind the scenes.”
Callum Smart is on the England Talent programme and hoping to be selected to swim for GB at the 2018 European Juniors in Helsinki; he would like to compete at more world championships and ultimately the Olympics.
Callum, who attends Chipping Norton School, said, “I spend 30 hours a week training in Oxford, and the financial support will help towards my weekly travel cost as well as paying for other expenses when I compete away from home. My ultimate aim is to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.”
Jamie Coleshill, regional director at GLL, said: “It is vitally important to recognise talented athletes. For many this will be the first award they have received and for us it is fantastic to be able to invest in the local community.