THE third annual Lancashire Telegraph Grassroots Heroes Awards took place last night where the great and the good of amateur sport were honoured.
Teams, individuals, unsung heroes and hard-working coaches packed in to Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho for the awards which were again sponsored by United Utilities.
Guests of honour included Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton, talented Lancashire wicket keeper and batsman Alex Davies and former Blackburn Rovers and Scotland striker Kevin Gallacher.
However, the real stars of the show where those who had been short-listed for the 10 categories.
The categories were: Senior Team of the Year, Junior Team of the Year, Spirit of Sport Award, Coach of the Year, Unsung Hero, Lifetime Achievement, Community Club of the Year, Junior Sports Personality and Senior Sports Personality of the Year awards and the People’s Choice Award which was voted for by Lancashire Telegraph readers.
The aim of the awards is to recognise and reward those teams and individuals who contribute so much to local amateur sport – either competing or working hard behind the scenes.
And Bill Markham certainly encapsulated what the evening was all about when he won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bill has served football for more than 40 years as a player, referee and now league official with the Blackburn Combination.
He continues to carry out his duties despite battling a serious illness.
Other award winners were Lucy-Belle Williamson and Martyn Skipper who were named junior and senior sports personality respectively.
Lucy, aged nine, is regarded as one of best young fencers in the country, winning national titles in two age groups and, most recently, earning a place on the National Training programme for young athletes identified as future national, international and Olympic fencers.
In contrast, Martyn’s success has come later in life and among his successes in the last 12 months include being crowed veteran European karate champion.
Blessed Trinity Year 10 football team were named junior team of the year after they became the first Burnley school to be crowned English Schools Cup winners.
And it was also a memorable year for Senior Team of the Year winners, Mill Hill Diversity FC who won the Lancashire FA Ability Counts county final.
Dave Pilkington won the Coach of the Year award for his efforts in helping to produce county and national table tennis champions in Blackburn.
He will also coach Team GB in the World School Championships in France.
Frank Jex was named Unsung Hero for his relentless hard work in helping to make sure snooker continued to be played in pubs and clubs across East Lancashire.
And veteran referee Harry Warburton, who has been a match official for the than 50 years, won the Spirit of Sport award.
Burnley Rugby Club scooped with Community Club of the Year award with Don’t Dis-Ability Boccia team topping the readers poll to win the People’s Choice award.
Roll of honour
SPIRIT OF SPORT
COACH OF THE YEAR
SENIOR TEAM OF THE YEAR
Mill Hill Diversity
COMMUNITY CLUB OF THE YEAR
JUNIOR TEAM OF THE YEAR
Blessed Trinity Year 10 football team
JUNIOR SPORTS PERSONALITY
SENIOR SPORTS PERSONALITY
PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
Don’t Dis-Abililty (Boccia)