Sporting heroes honoured at awards

Preston Sports Forum held its annual volunteer awards evening at the Guild Hall.'Special guest, world record holding weighlifter Andrew Whittaker answers questions.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'11-1-2016
Preston Sports Forum held its annual volunteer awards evening at the Guild Hall.'Special guest, world record holding weighlifter Andrew Whittaker answers questions. PIC BY ROB LOCK'11-1-2016
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Sporting volunteers from across Preston have been recognised for their hard work and commitment.

They were honoured at a special event at the city’s Guild Hall, attended by civic dignitaries and sporting leaders.

Preston Sports Forum held its annual volunteer awards evening at the Guild Hall.'The Mayor of Preston Councillor Margaret McManus presents awards to L-R: Zainab Akhtar, Jim Bryson and Ben Caulfield.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'11-1-2016

Preston Sports Forum held its annual volunteer awards evening at the Guild Hall.'The Mayor of Preston Councillor Margaret McManus presents awards to L-R: Zainab Akhtar, Jim Bryson and Ben Caulfield. PIC BY ROB LOCK'11-1-2016

Mayor of Preston, Coun Margaret McManus, was at the celebrations along with Pete Mason, chairman of the Sports Forum, Coun Veronica Afrin, cabinet member for culture and leisure at Preston Council and Dr Adrian Ibbotson, chairman of the sport and physical activity alliance.

The guest speaker was Andrew Whittaker, the first British powerlifter with a disability to compete at an able-bodied world event.

All his records and accomplishments, excluding his World Championship, have been against able bodied powerlifters.

He is currently fifth in the world in the able bodied category.

When he was 16 he volunteered with the Lancashire County Disability 
Development Officer on a “whiz kids” project, which enabled him to attend coaching awards and complete his Millennium Volunteer Award, dedicating 200 hours towards volunteering.

The evening also launched the Preston Guild Hall Sports Awards, to be held at the Guild Hall on March 11.

Dr Adrian Ibbetson also spoke about the new Preston Physical Activity and Sports Strategy (2015-20).

He said: “The city of Preston should be very proud of the latest iteration of the Sports Strategy.

“It’s very much aimed at the people of Preston who are not involved in any sport or physical activity.

“This links with the Government and Sport England strategy, which is very much centred around the health agenda.”