Preston student at Edge Hill University wins national excellence award from professional sporting body

Sophie has excelled in her sport, despite being diagnosed with anxiety.

By Aimee Seddon
Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 12:30 pm

Two Edge Hill students, including one from Preston, have won an excellence award from the professional body for the sport and physical activity sector.

Sports Coaching and Development students Sophie Warden and Charlotte Oakley, who both graduated with firsts, won the Edge Hill Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) Graduation Prize this month for their dedication and hard work.

23 year old Sophie from Preston, who is now studying a Masters in Sport, Physical Activity and Mental Health at the university, said the award would be an invaluable help with her career progression, and added: “I was absolutely over the moon to win this award; it is just the icing on the cake after graduating with a first.”

Sophie Ward from Preston has won the Edge Hill Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) Graduation Prize.

Sophie, who is a competitive 400m hurdler and president of the Edge Hill athletics team, was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder six years ago, but, determined not to let that stop her, she is in training for the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships, in addition to her academic commitments.

She has also completed an internship with the Rugby League Cares sport and health charity, helping to launch a new initiative called Beyond the Sidelines, thanks to Edge Hill’s Student Opportunity Fund.

Sophie said: “My anxiety makes me very hard on myself and the last couple of years have been particularly tough because of Covid-19. We all missed out on so much interaction, which was not the healthiest situation for me.

“But I focused on my studies and managed to get a first in every assignment and my interest in sport and mental health really developed as a result of my own experiences.

Edge Hill is one of just 10 original Higher Education institutions granted degree endorsement by CIMPSA, the sports sector’s professional standards body .

“I’d like to do a PhD next before hopefully working in sport and mental health, coaching in education or becoming a university lecturer, so this award will be a really great boost to help me start out in my career.”

CIMSPA is the sports sector’s professional standards body which endorses Edge Hill’s sports development, management and coaching programmes, giving degrees an industry-recognised quality mark and driving student employability.

These national awards were introduced by CIMSPA in partnership with Edge Hill as one of just 10 original Higher Education institutions granted degree endorsement.

Sophie and Charlotte have won a year’s graduate membership with CIMSPA which includes access to resources, continuing professional development courses and networking opportunities.

Kenny Greenough, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Sports Coaching and Development, explained that Sophie and Charlotte were selected to receive the national awards in recognition of their “excellent academic and work-related success”.

He said: “Sophie and Charlotte consistently achieved outstanding first-class marks in their studies and developed an excellent range of industry experience and employability skills by engaging regularly with placement and other work-related learning opportunities.

“They also excelled in their sporting careers, in athletics and hockey respectively, and we are extremely proud of all their achievements.”