There will be a special atmosphere when Preston’s sporting community comes together tonight for the city’s annual Sports Awards at the Guild Hall.
The Walker Smith Way Preston Sports Awards will recognise 17 winners for their commitment, dedication and sporting achievement in the city.
The evening will be an opportunity to pay tribute to Sir Tom Finney, who died last month, and who was the first ever lifetime achievement winner at the awards.
The ninth annual ceremony is a sell-out to award sponsors and short-listed nominees, along with their friends and family who are eagerly awaiting the outcome.
Tonight’s guest speaker is Olympian, Jason Gardener, one of the UK’s all-time great sprinters.
He won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in the 4x100m relay and earlier that year he became World Indoor Champion over 60m.
Gardener is a Youth Sport Trust ambassador, regularly attending conferences and camps.
He plays an active role in National School Sport Week, visiting schools across the UK to inspire children to take part in sport, and has also encouraged youngsters up and down the country to join in the School Games.
Among the successes at last year’s awards, Preston Harriers Athletic Club won club of the year after a successful 12 months.
The club’s achievements included the Northern Athletics League Division One champions for the first time in the history of the club, Lancashire Sports Hall champions and seven athletes gained individual medals at National championships.
Chair of Preston Sports Forum Peter Mason said: “The Forum would like to thank the main sponsor Walker Smith Way Legal and the 17 individual award sponsors in making the event the success it is to date.
“Without their continued support, the volunteers and the clubs in which they serve would not be recognised for their fantastic contribution to community sports provision in Preston.
“The organisation of the awards is an excellent example of partnership working between public, private and third sectors all coming together for the greater good of sports in the local area.”
Coach of the year (aged 16 years plus)
Sponsor – BMW Bowker
Club of the year
Sponsor – Surridge
Volunteer of the year (Adult – aged over 25 years)
Sponsor – FWP Architecture
Volunteer of the year (Young – aged up to 24 years)
Sponsor – Lancashire County Council
Sponsor - Millers Taxis (in memory of Sam McCulloch)
Achievement/Performance of the year (male junior)
Sponsor – Walker Smith Way Solicitors
Achievement/Performance of the year (female junior)
Sponsor – Preston College
Achievement/Performance of the year (senior)
Sponsor – Shoutnetwork.co.uk
Service to disability sport
Sponsor – Ambulant Physiotherapy Ltd
Team performance of the year (junior team)
Sponsor – UCLan
Team performance of the year (senior team)
Sponsor – Skiddle
School team of the year (primary)
Sponsor – GB Energy
School team of the year (secondary)
Sponsor – Wallwork, Nelson & Johnson
Community organisation of the year
Sponsor – Jigsaw Training
Higher/Further education team of the year
Sponsor – McDade Roberts
Special recognition/service to sport
Sponsor – Preston City Council (in honour of Councillor Tom Burns)
Lifetime achievement (aged 30 years plus)
Sponsor – John Turner Construction Group